International Employees Payroll Taxes

The following information should assist international employees in completing forms and understanding the tax options available to you as a nonresident of the United States.

Obtaining a Social Security Number

  1. Once you have a job, you must apply for a Social Security Number (SSN). All employees are required to obtain a SSN, and should do this as soon as possible after being hired. 
  2. Complete Form SS-5, Social Security Administration Application for a Social Security Card. These forms are available at the local Social Security Offices.
  3. You will need your passport, a letter from the ISPS, a letter from the department that you will be working for, and any documentation given to you by the USCIS (Form I-94, DS 2019, I-20)
  4. Take the completed Form SS-5 along with the appropriate documentation to one of the local Social Security Offices located at 3808 N 1st Ave. Office hours are Monday-Friday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm. For any questions, call 1-800-772-1213. You can also call that number 48 hours after applying to verbally obtain your new number.
  5. Once you receive your card, take it to the Time Coordinator in your department. They will make a copy of it so that your SSN can be entered into the UAccess Employee system.

NOTE: International Students may NOT work over 20 hours per week. If you work more than 20 hours a week, you will be out of status.

To work at the University, you MUST remain in a valid immigration status. Once out of status, employment will be terminated immediately!

F-1, J-1, M-1, AND Q-1 VISA TYPES

  1. All employees on an F-1, J-1, M-1, or Q-1 visa type will be required to enter their information into Sprintax Calculus. Employees will receive an email with the subject: [employee's name], welcome to Sprintax Calculus. The email will come from "", which may be directed to a Spam folder. Be sure to check there if it doesn’t arrive in your Inbox.
  2. By entering your information into Sprintax Calculus, we can determine your eligibility for a tax treaty and if you are exempt from FICA taxes. Information on how to log into Sprintax Calculus will be sent to all new employees within two weeks of starting work. If you do not receive an email, please contact Payroll at 520-621-9097You will need to complete and submit the tax summary page electronically in Sprintax Calculus. If it is determined that you are eligible for a treaty tax exemption, you will need to complete and sign Form 8233 within Sprintax Calculus electronically.
  3. If you are not eligible for a tax treaty with the United States, Sprintax Calculus will provide a completed Form W-4 for you to sign electronically.
  4. FICA: Nonresidents with visa types F-1, J-1, M-1, Q-1 and Q-2 may qualify as exempt from paying FICA (Social Security) tax for up to 5 years as a student, or up to 2 years as a teacher or researcher. To qualify for this tax exemption, you will need to complete a Sprintax Calculus record.

Work Authorized J-2, M-2 VISA TYPES

  1. These visa types are not eligible for tax treaty benefits. You will need to complete a Form W-4.
  2. FICA: Work authorized J-2 or M-2 visa types are subject to FICA (Social Security) tax. If you are a student, you may be eligible for exemption under the student provisions for FICA. As long as you are enrolled at least half time (6 credit hours for fall/spring and 3 credit hours for each summer session), you will be exempt from paying FICA. If at any time you drop below the minimum hours, you will begin to pay FICA.

Treaty Exceptions

The University of Arizona takes a conservative stance in reviewing income tax treaties. It is University of Arizona policy not to facilitate the US-Canada income tax treaty as it has a total income dollar limit. The US-Canada income tax treaty limits total income in the tax year to $10,000.00. If income is $10,000.01 or more, the entire amount of income is taxable. Wages, interest, dividends, scholarship and royalties are a few examples of income that would be reported as part of the $10,000.00 income limit.

The University feels it is better to withhold tax during the calendar year, rather than the students/employees possibly owing taxes to the IRS at the end of the year.

How To Complete Form W-4 (all nonresidents except H-1, J2, M2 visa types)

  1. It is recommended that all University employees use the on-line Form W-4 on UAccess Employee.
  2. Preprinted on the W-4 in UAccess Employee will be your name, U.S. address, and Social Security Number. If this information is incorrect, please contact Financial Services at 520-621-9097.
    • Filing Status: Check Single or Married but withhold at the higher Single rate marital status, regardless of actual marital status. Nonresidents may not claim Married.
    • Multiple Jobs or Spouse Works: Do not complete this section unless you have more than one job at the same time. Do not account for your spouse’s job because nonresidents may not file jointly.
    • Claim Dependents: Only certain nonresidents should use this. Nonresidents from Canada, Mexico, South Korea (Republic of Korea), or India. Employees from these countries may be able to claim the child tax credit or the credit for dependents. See IRS Publication 519 and Publication 972 for more information.
    • Other Adjustments: Optional Step, but you may use this is you would like an additional amount to be withheld.
    • Submit and select OK.
  3. For more help with filling out a W-4 please use IRS Notice 1392.

Students from India: Article 21(2) of the U.S.-India Income Tax Treaty allows students from India to claim dependents present in the U.S. They may not claim "Exempt".


  1. Employees with H-1 visa types are considered residents for tax purposes.
  2. FICA: H-1 visa holders are required to pay FICA (Social Security) tax.

How to Complete Form W-4 (H-1visa):

  1. It is recommended that all University employees use the on-line Form W-4 on UAccess Employee
  2. Preprinted in UAccess Employee will be your name, U.S. address, and Social Security Number. If this information is incorrect, please contact Financial Services at 520-621-9097.
  3. Check your marital status.
  4. Enter the total number of withholding allowances.
  5. If you wish to have an additional amount of federal tax withheld, enter the amount.
  6. If you want to claim tax exempt, check the Exempt box. If you will be earning more than $200 per week, the University is required to submit a copy of this form to the IRS for approval. 
  7. Submit and select OK.

Tax Reporting

At the end of January, you will receive tax documents stating your earnings and taxes withheld from the previous year. You may receive a Form W-2, a Form 1042-S, or both.

  • If you are not eligible to claim Exempt under a tax treaty, all of your income will be reported on a Form W-2.
  • If ALL of your income was Exempt due to a tax treaty, all of your income will be reported on a Form 1042-S.
  • If you were able to claim Exempt due to a tax treaty, but some of your income was taxed because you reached the limits of your treaty, you will receive a Form W-2 and a Form 1042-S. Form W-2 reports all income which was taxed, and Form 1042-S reports all income which was Exempt under a tax treaty.
  • If you had taxable U.S. - sourced financial aid, regardless of whether you are from a tax treaty country, this will also be reported on a Form 1042-S.
  • You are required to file your tax statement with the federal and state governments. Even individuals who do not receive income during the year must file an information return (Form 8843).