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Fees and honoraria

Questions to consider | Reduced paperwork options | Procedures | Contacts | Resources
Important definitions


Emory’s policies regarding payments to nonresident aliens (NRAs) are designed to process these payments in the most efficient manner while meeting the tax withholding and documentation requirements of the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Homeland Security. 

Emory has engaged external counsel to advise the controller’s office regarding these procedures for paying fees and honoraria to international visitors.

Please use the guidelines below.

Given the need for original signatures on some of the documentation required by the IRS to make payments to nonresident aliens (NRAs), planning ahead for your visitor’s arrival is critical so that you can collect original signatures while the visitor is with your department and minimize processing time for payments. Depending on the complexity of your visitor’s situation, the full process can take two to four weeks.

In discussing any proposed invitations to visitors for academic activities at Emory, please read through all of the documentation requirements below in advance of any final payment arrangements. This will ensure necessary visas and paperwork are obtained so that an honorarium or reimbursement can be issued in a timely manner.

If you have a question or special circumstance that is not covered in the list below, please contact Nonresident Tax Services well in advance of your visitor’s arrival.

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Questions to consider before offering fees or honoraria

1. Do you have a visitor coming to Emory who is a foreign national (i.e., not a U.S. citizen), and do you need to pay your visitor a fee or honorarium?

If yes, payments to visitors depend on their residency status:

  1. If your visitor is a permanent resident who meets the green card test, follow normal payment procedures through the Compass Payment Request module.
  2. If you can verify the visitor is a resident alien for tax purposes based on the substantial presence test, then proceed to payment procedures through the Compass Payment Request module.
  3. For all other visitors’ residency statuses, based on the substantial presence test, proceed to question #2.

2. Is this payment for services to be performed exclusively outside the U.S.?

 

If yes, then please use these instructions for a foreign source payment.  Note that if the individual resides in Canada, there is a separate foreign source statement just for Canada.

If no, continue to #3.

3. Do you need to reimburse your visitor for travel expenses?

If you need to reimburse your foreign visitor for travel expenses, please see our information on travel expenses for foreign visitors. Please note that fee or honoraria payments are separate from travel expenses and should be submitted separately in Compass. For the fee or honorarium portion of the visitor’s payment, proceed to question #4.

4. Will your visitor be traveling on a B-1, B-2, WB, or WT visa?

If yes, determine whether your visitor meets the requirements of the 9/5/6 rule. An NRA can be paid under the 9/5/6 rule if he or she:

  1. Was admitted to the U.S. in B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status;
  2. Is being compensated for ‘usual academic activity’ for 9 days or fewer; and
  3. Has not been paid or reimbursed by more than 5 other U.S. organizations during the past 6 months.

If your visitor does not meet the criteria of the 9/5/6 rule, Emory cannot legally pay a fee or honorarium to your visitor.

If your visitor is not traveling on a B-1, B-2, WB, or WT visa, read the special rules chart. If your visitor does not meet the special rules criteria, Emory cannot legally pay your visitor.

If your visitor meets the requirements outlined above, consider the reduced paperwork options below.

Summary of fee or honoraria payment options to NRAs

Submit materials to determine if tax treaties are applicable to payment

Reduced paperwork options

Follow Procedures to Pay Fees or Honorarium to Foreign Visitors

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Reduced paperwork options

If your visitor meets the requirements of the 9/5/6 rule or other special rules (PDF) and will be paid from a non-sponsored account, then there are two alternative ways to pay the visitor to reduce the paperwork required for processing payments, and your department will not need to use the Foreign National Information System (FNIS). The department can either pay the tax through the gross-up method (gross up at 42.9 percent) or the visitor can pay the tax at the 30-percent rate.

An NRA can be paid under the 9/5/6 rule if he or she:

  1. Was admitted to the U.S. in B-1, B-2, WB, or WT status;
  2. Is being compensated for ‘usual academic activity’ for 9 days or fewer; and
  3. Has not been paid or reimbursed by more than 5 other U.S. organizations during the past 6 months.

Department pays the tax

Payment can be grossed up at rate of 42.9 percent, and the department will pay the tax, provided that the payment will be made from a non-sponsored account and the visitor meets the above requirements.

Visitor pays the tax

Tax of 30 percent can be automatically withheld from the payment, with the visitor foregoing any applicable tax treaty benefit, provided that the visitor meets the above requirements.

If you would like to proceed with either of these two reduced paperwork options, follow the procedures below. If these are not an option for the nonresident alien payment you wish to process, use the procedures to pay fees and honoraria.

Procedures for reduced paperwork options

With the upgrade to Compass 9.2, all fee or honorarium payment requests should be done through the Compass Payment Request module whether to be paid by check, ACH, or foreign wire. Keep in mind that Emory does not mail checks to a small number of high-risk countries.

If the visitor wants an ACH payment (they will need to have a US bank account), attach a completed ACH form. If the visitor is to be paid by foreign wire, see the Compass Foreign Wire Request Job Aid for required information.

Compass instructions for NRA payments >>

Before your visitor arrives
  1. Full legal name, foreign address, email address
  2. Social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) if applicable
  3. Passport number
  4. Visa type and number (plus DS-2019 form and letter from responsible officer for J-1 visitors)
  5. Copy of Form I-20 for F students
  6. Bank information, if the visitor wishes to be paid electronically rather than by paper check: bank name, bank address, branch name and number if applicable, swift code, bank account name, and bank account number
Once your visitor arrives
  1. Copy of Form I-94 (available online), or copy of passport visa stamp page with visitor’s picture, passport expiration date, and country of origin. Individuals from a visa waiver country no longer complete the I-94 process, but a copy of the red entry stamp of the passport page is required.
  2. Original signature on Emory’s compliance statement for payments to visitors.
  3. Signed Form W-8BEN (electronic copy accepted if reasonable steps are taken to confirm the form is from the visitor).
Payment processing procedures
  1. Obtain the before-arrival information listed above from the visitor who will be paid.
  2. Write a statement regarding the business purpose of the visitor’s payment or obtain a copy of the relevant event flyer, if available.
  3. Complete the Emory compliance statement for payments to visitors. Obtain an original signature from the visitor on this form when they arrive on campus and submit the form by scanning the signed document and attaching it to the payment request in Compass and keeping the original form on file in your office for seven years. Your department assumes responsibility for any tax, interest, or penalties that could arise from the inability to provide the original documentation if requested by the IRS.
  4. Once the visitor arrives in the U.S., obtain a copy of their Form I-94 (available online; not applicable to Canadians). Attach a copy of the I-94 to the payment request in Compass.
  5. Complete Form W-8BEN and have the visitor sign it when they arrive on campus. Electronic copies are accepted if reasonable steps are taken to confirm the form is from the visitor, i.e., oral or written confirmation that the visitor sent the electronic form. Submit the signed form to the controller’s office by attaching it to the payment request in Compass.

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Procedures to pay fees and honoraria to foreign visitors

With the upgrade to Compass 9.2, all fee or honorarium payment requests should be done through the Compass Payment Request module whether to be paid by check, ACH, or foreign wire.  Keep in mind that Emory does not mail checks to a small number of high-risk countries.

If the visitor wants an ACH payment (they will need to have a US bank account), attach a completed ACH form to the payment request.  If the visitor is to be paid by foreign wire, see the Compass Foreign Wire Request Job Aid for required information.

Compass instructions for NRA payments >>

If you are not using one of the reduced paperwork options described above, the following information should be collected from the visitor to complete a payment in a timely manner:

Before your visitor arrives:

  1. Full legal name, foreign address, email address
  2. Social security number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Payment can still be made without a SSN or ITIN, but will automatically be taxed at the appropriate rate.
  3. Passport number
  4. Visa type and number (plus DS-2019 form and letter from responsible officer for J-1 visitors. For F students authorized for Curricular Practical Training, you will also need a copy of the I-20 form. For F students participating in Optional Practical Training, you will need the I-20 and Employment Authorization Document.)
  5. Dates and related visa types of the visitor’s previous U.S. visits during the past three years. This information is necessary to correctly apply tax treaty exemptions. Additionally, visitors who have previously traveled to the U.S. on an F, J, M, or Q visa must also disclose the approximate dates of those U.S. visits since 1985.
  6. Bank information, if the visitor wishes to be paid electronically rather than by paper check: bank name, bank address, branch name and number if applicable, swift code, bank account name, and bank account number

After your visitor arrives:

  1. Copy of their Form I-94 (available online) or copy of passport visa stamp page for current visit. Information should include passport expiration date and country of origin. Individuals from a visa waiver country no longer complete the I-94 process, but a copy of the red entry stamp of the passport page is required.
  2. Original signature on Emory Compliance Statement for Payment to Visitors
  3. Original signature on Immigration Status Data Form (from FNIS)
  4. Original signature on Form 8233 (if visitor is claiming a tax treaty exemption on taxes). The completed Form 8233 is prepared in the tax office after the visitor completes the online FNIS questionnaire (step #4 below).
  5. Signed Form W-8BEN (electronic copy accepted if reasonable steps are taken to confirm the form is from the visitor)

The process of paying a non-U.S. visitor should begin before they arrive on Emory’s campus.

  1. Obtain the before-arrival information listed above from the visitor who will be paid.
  2. Write a statement regarding the business purpose of the visitor’s payment or obtain a copy of the relevant event flyer, if available.
  3. Complete the Emory compliance statement for payments to visitors. Get an original signature from the visitor on this form when they arrive on campus and submit the form by scanning the signed document and attaching it to the payment request in Compass and keeping the original form on file in your office for seven years. Your department assumes responsibility for any tax, interest, or penalties that could arise from the inability to provide the original documentation if requested by the IRS.
  4. If there is a possibility of Tax Treaty benefits, request from Emory's Nonresident Tax Services a username and password for the Foreign National Information System (FNIS) nonresident alien questionnaire.  Have the visitor log in and complete the FNIS nonresident alien questionnaireInstructions >>
  5. After completing the FNIS questionnaire, print the immigration status data form from the FNIS website and have your visitor sign it when they arrive on campus. Submit the original version of the signed form to controller’s office via interoffice courier to Emory’s Nonresident Tax Services, 1599 Clifton Road, 3rd Floor. Within three business days of submitting this form, you will be notified if more information is needed and if a tax treaty is applicable.

    If a tax treaty exemption is applicable, you will receive Form 8233 from the controller’s office. Obtain the visitor’s signature on Form 8233 when they arrive on campus. Submit the form by:

    1. Sending via interoffice courier to Emory’s Nonresident Tax Services, 1599 Clifton Road, 3rd Floor; and
    2. Scanning the signed document and attaching it to the payment request in Compass and keeping the original form on file in your office for seven years.  Your department assumes responsibility for any tax, interest, or penalties that could arise from the inability to provide the original documentation if requested by the IRS.
  6. Once the visitor arrives in the U.S., obtain a copy of their Form I-94 (available online; not applicable to Canadians) and submit it to the controller’s office by attaching it to the payment request in Compass.

  7. Complete Form W-8BEN and have the visitor sign it when they arrive on campus. Electronic copies are accepted if reasonable steps are taken to confirm the form is from the visitor, i.e., oral or written confirmation that the visitor sent the electronic form. Submit the signed form to the controller’s office by attaching it to the payment request in Compass.

Once all the required supporting documentation has been submitted through Compass and to the controller’s office, payment will be issued within 10-14 business days.

For questions regarding NRA payments, please contact Emory’s Nonresident Tax Services at nonresident.tax@emory.edu or 404-727-7889.

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Contact

Nonresident Tax Services
Office of the Controller
404-727-7889

Resources

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Important definitions

Definition of NRA for U.S. Tax Purposes

A nonresident alien (NRA) for U.S. tax purposes is not a U.S. citizen and does not meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test. An NRA for tax purposes, during his or her stay in the U.S., either pays U.S. taxes only on income from sources inside the U.S., or may be exempt from paying U.S. income taxes because of a treaty between the U.S. and the government of his or her country.

Gross up

To "gross up" an amount will usually indicate that if there is a required withholding or deduction, the paying party shall increase the pre-withholding amount of the payment so that the net amount received equals an agreed-upon payment amount. This action calculates and then offsets the tax burden associated with income deemed taxable by the IRS.

Example: A recipient was told they would receive a $100 payment. After 30 percent required tax withholding, however, the net amount received would be $70. To make the net amount received equal $100, the institution pays $143 gross and applies 30 percent withholding to result in a net amount received of $100.

Taxpayer ID numbers

The visitor must have an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) or social security number (SSN) in order to take advantage of any treaty benefits available that reduce or eliminate tax before getting paid. This means that they should have either a SSN or ITIN before arriving at Emory. Many frequent visitors to the U.S. have SSNs. The ITIN is available only to nonresident aliens who are ineligible for a SSN. If a nonresident alien receives payments in the U.S. and is ineligible for a SSN (e.g., a consultant who is to receive an honorarium), that person should apply for an ITIN (but it’s not required for payment, only to take advantage of any applicable tax treaty benefits.) An ITIN can be obtained from the IRS by submitting form W-7. This process can take 10–12 weeks. The visitor may be able to apply for the ITIN at a U.S. consulate or embassy when applying for a J-1, B-1, or B-2 visa.

Reasonable steps

An electronic copy of the Form W-8BEN is acceptable if reasonable steps are taken to confirm the form is from the visitor. This means: 1) the sender’s email address indicates the sender is the individual named on the W-8BEN; or 2) the sender’s email address matches the e-mail on file for the visitor; or 3) verbal or written confirmation from the visitor that he or she furnished the W-8BEN (the department should document the date and recipient of the confirmation).

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