Nonresident alien

Should I receive any tax reporting documents?

If you had no U.S.-source funding, you will not receive any tax reporting documents. It is possible to receive more than one type of tax reporting document, if you received more than one type of funding from a U.S. source (wages plus a fellowship, for example). The type of document you might receive depends on the type of funding you received.  If the only funding you received from Harvard was a scholarship that was applied directly to your term bill (1098-T), you will not receive any tax reporting documents. If you had no U.S. source funding, you will not receive any tax reporting...

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Why am I paying taxes when I’ve submitted all the required forms to claim tax treaty benefits?

This could be due to one or more of the following factors:

  • GLACIER has indicated that you're eligible for tax exemption on a dollar limit for the tax year, however, administrative/technical restrictions at Harvard prevent us from granting treaty benefits when there's a dollar limit.
  • On average, it takes around 1 month to process tax classification/treaty forms, and your submission is still in the queue.  Once it has been processed, however, your earnings will be tax exempt and we can refund Federal and State tax...
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Do I have to file a tax return?

If you were a nonresident alien and were present in the United States during any part of the tax (calendar) year in question on an F,J, M, or Q visa, there is at least one tax form you must complete (IRS Form 8843).

If you were a nonresident alien who did not receive funding from a U.S. source (please be aware that funding from a foreign source that is paid through Harvard is usually considered U.S.-source), you do not have to complete an actual tax return (eg.1040 NR), but, as mentioned above, may...

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Fellowship Payments

Fellowships, scholarships, and stipends are disbursed in support of personal research or studies. Such payments are often grouped together, for tax purposes, as "non-service fellowship" income, and may include "reimbursements" for travel or other incurred costs, if not deemed genuine University business expenses, i.e.in direct support of University research or scholarship.

Correctly distinguishing between fellowships and reimbursements has important ramifications for tax withholding and reporting as well as for the actual payment procedure.

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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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Social Security and Medicare Tax (FICA)

Social Security and Medicare taxes, or "FICA" tax (approx. 7.5% of gross income), are collected by Harvard University but administered independently by the U.S. Social Security Administration. Non-student U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and resident aliens (as designated by the GLACIER tax compliance system) are subject to FICA taxes on salary and wages earned as an employee.

It may be possible to refund FICA taxes incorrectly withheld by the University:

  • To determine if FICA taxes were incorrectly withheld in the current calendar year, you need to...
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U.S. or Foreign-Source Income

Nonresident aliens, for tax purposes, unlike U.S. citizens and residents, are only subject to tax on income that is considered U.S.-source income.

Foreign-source Income received by nonresident aliens is not subject to U.S. taxation.

Income is generally considered foreign-source if the location of the activity for which the payment is being issued is outside the U.S.  A clear indication of the location of the activity is necessary on all supporting documentation for the payment to be correctly classified. This applies to both...

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Salary/Wages

Employment compensation, or a salary, is taxed at marginal graduated rates, meaning income earned over certain levels set by the U.S. tax authorities is taxed at progressively higher rates. Please see the section on income tax withholding tables in IRS publication 15 to get an idea of how your salary will be taxed by Harvard.

  • If eligible for tax treaty benefits, both nonresident aliens and resident aliens can claim exemption...
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