Checklist For Paying Nonresident Aliens As Independent Contractors/Consultants

Before the Individual Comes to Syracuse University

  • Complete the department worksheet to determine if an individual should be paid as a non-employee [DOC]. If yes, proceed. If no, contact Human Resources at 315-443-5371.
  • Have NRA complete the Center for International Services Authorization to Pay for Personal Services of International Lecturers and Independent Contractors/Consultants [PDF] form and submit to the Center for International Services for approval. Contact the Center for International Services at 315-443-2457 or with questions regarding the form. If NRA is outside the U.S. while performing services for the University, this is not required.
  • Collect a withholding form.  The payee is responsible to know their tax status and appropriate withholding form to file, and should consult their tax advisor for guidance if needed.
    • W-8BEN [PDF] form (Part I and Part III only) to claim nonresident tax status
    • W-9 form [PDF] to claim resident tax status by virtue of being in the U.S. long enough to pass the IRS Substantial Presence Test (SPT)
  • Contact Payroll for tax information, including treaty eligibility, for tax nonresidents.
    • If the NRA does not have a U.S. issued taxpayer identification number (TIN) or is from a non-treaty country, 30% tax will be withheld. Although it is not a practice that is recommended by the Comptroller’s Office, Departments may choose to “gross up” the payment. To “gross up” the payment divide the desired net amount by 70%.
    • If the individual has a U.S. issued TIN and is from a treaty country, contact Payroll for instructions on obtaining tax treaty forms.
    • If outside the U.S. while performing services for the University, no tax will be withheld and no reporting is required.

To Process Payment Request

Complete the Request for Payment of Professional Services Rendered by Non-Employees form [PDF] in full.

The following must be attached as backup in order for payment to be processed:

  1. Non-Employee Worksheet
  2. Center for International Services Approval Form (if required – see above)
  3. Applicable Completed Tax Form

Any missing information will result in the return of the payment request form to the Department.

Timing of the Payment

The cutoff for having the form(s) in the Office of Human Resources is no later than 10:30 a.m. of the 3rd workday preceding the workday for which the check is desired. If “walking” a form through, please wait for it to be audited in case there are problems. If leaving the form, it is helpful to mark it with “RUSH” and a contact person’s name and phone number to be used in case of problems.

Tax Reporting of the Payment

For services performed while NRA is physically present in the U.S., Payroll will issue a 1042-S form on or before March 15th of the following year, mail it to the home address of the payee, and report the payment to the Internal Revenue Service.

NRAs who are paid as an independent contractor/consultant are considered “engaged in a trade or business” and must file a United States tax return using IRS form 1040NR [PDF] or 1040NR-EZ [PDF]. To file any US tax forms an individual must have a US SSN or ITIN. These forms are available at calendar year end (January of each year) from the Internal Revenue Service, or can be ordered by telephoning the IRS toll free number 1-800-829-3676. Locally, the Public Library, and the IRS Office often have the forms in stock from January 1st through April 30th each year.