Honorarium

Service payment issued to non-employees of Harvard, usually as compensation for a lecture or presentation. 

Gross Up for Nonemployee Income

In certain situations, where University and department policies and budgets allow, administrators may wish to “gross up” an income payment to a recipient. The desired outcome may be intended to achieve a specific “net amount”, accounting for required tax withholdings. Gross up payments incur additional expense to the requesting department’s budget, which can be significant.


Reportable income payments processed to or for the benefit of individuals, are reportable for “gross up” amounts paid. Depending on income type and payment circumstances,...

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Honoraria

An Honoraria is defined as a gratuitous payment of money, or any other thing of value, to a person for the person’s participation in a usual academic activity for which no fee is legally required.

Various IRS and USCIS regulations should be taken into account when guest speakers and other  "performers" receive compensation for services or payments to cover travel expenses. Harvard University administrators adhere to a broad array of tax and immigration regulations, including restrictions on payments to certain visa holders, tax withholding obligations, and service...

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Making Payments

Use these guidelines to better understand payments to foreign individuals.

Harvard is required to follow:

  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations that govern the taxation of payments to nonresident aliens, which differ from those that govern payments to U.S. citizens and resident aliens; and
  • Regulations set by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when making payments to certain foreign scholars and students

These regulations, which can be complicated, determine the tax status and proper procedure for...

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Payments

Whether receiving or making payments, Harvard guidelines and U.S. tax/immigration regulations will influence the end result, including how the payment will be taxed. There are various compliance issues of which to be mindful, and numerous laws by which to abide, that will collectively determine the direction one should take. Work authorization, income category, visa type, tax residency status, and tax treaty eligibility are some of the many factors that influence how a payment to a foreign national should be processed.

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Honorarium, Royalty, Prize, or Other Payment

The following are subject to a 30% tax withholding rate paid to nonresident aliens, in the absence of tax treaty benefits:

  • Honoraria, or payments made at the discretion of the University as compensation for professional services, including guest lectures. If honoraria and other performance-related payments from the University exceed $5000 per year, in the aggregate, the marginal earnings would also be subject to Massachusetts State tax of around 5.5%.
  • Independent contractor/consultant payments issued when Harvard is charged for the service....
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Tax Treaties and Deadlines

DEADLINE TO CLAIM *NEW* TAX TREATY EXEMPTION FOR CURRENT CALENDAR YEAR 2020: If GLACIER determines you are possibly eligible to claim a tax treaty exemption, your complete GLACIER submission must be received by our office no later than Sunday, November 29th, 2020. This deadline is necessary due to IRS annual processing requirements and the short...

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Tax Withholding on Payments

Payments from Harvard University may be subject to taxation in accordance with regulations strictly enforced by the U.S. tax authorities (IRS/MassDOR). Harvard collects, or withholds, two types of tax: Federal/State and Social Security/Medicare (FICA), liability for which is based on several factors:

  • Your U.S....
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