Payments to Non-Resident Aliens
Payroll and Employee Benefits
This information is for all payments paid through Payroll and Employee Benefits. Procedures for hiring a Non-US Citizen can be found on The Office of International Education's web site.
Access to this information requires a secure log-in.
Prior to employment at Auburn University all Non-US Citizens are required to complete the Auburn University Alien Employment Verification and Tax Form. In addition, this form is required to be completed for any change in immigration status, extension of your program or renewed immigration documents. This form is completed in the Office of International Education.
The NRA tax specialist (in the Payroll and Employee Benefits Office) will perform the substantial presence test to determine federal tax status based on information obtained from the AU Alien Employment Verification and Tax Form. The substantial presence test is performed annually and the NRA tax specialist will notify the employee of any change in federal tax status for the upcoming year. In addition, the NRA tax specialist will determine if the employee qualifies for any exemption from tax based on exemptions available under the federal tax code or tax treaty.
Generally, an individual can be exempt from FICA/Medicare taxes under two sections of the Internal Revenue Code:
Form W-4 is the tax form completed by the employee to determine federal tax withholding from your paycheck.
A W-4, in the case of a Non-Resident Alien MUST be completed as the IRS requires:
- 3121 (b)(19)- To qualify under this exemption an individual must be:
- A non-resident alien for tax purposes based on the substantial presence test and
- Present in the US in F, J, M or Q status and
- Performing services in accordance with the primary purpose of the visa to include working legally and the individual must be the primary holder of the visa. Thus an
individual in a -2 (dependent status) does not qualify under this section of the code
- 3121 (b) (10)- To qualify under this exemption an individual must be:
- In any federal tax status to include non-resident aliens, resident aliens, permanent residents or US Citizens and
- A student who works for the school at which he/she is enrolled and is attending classes
Sample of NRA W-4
- Single Marital Status - Regardless of your actual marital status (line 3)
- One Withholding Allowance (line 5)
- Write NRA on the dotted line (line 6). This is an additional amount as determined by the IRS guidelines for withholding on Non-Resident Aliens. Current year federal withholding guidelines for Non-Resident Aliens can be found in
IRS Publication 15 (Circular E).
There are exceptions to this requirement, however they are very limited and will be determined by the NRA tax specialist on an individual basis.
Income Tax Treaties are bilateral agreements between two countries established to avoid the "double taxation" of income. A summary of Tax Treaties can be found in IRS publication 901.
Tax treaties contain very specific language and requirements as to who may qualify for the exemption. Each income tax treaty varies in reference to the type of income earned and amount of the exemption available.
The NRA tax specialist, based on information obtained from the AU Alien Employment and Tax Form, will determine if the employee qualifies for an exemption from federal tax based on the tax treaty.
General requirements to claim treaty benefits:
As a withholding agent, Auburn University only facilitates the future claim of a treaty exemption on the individual's federal tax return. If you feel you qualify for a treaty benefit and Auburn University did not grant the treaty benefit, you may claim the treaty on your individual federal tax return and allow the IRS to review and make the determination if you are exempt under the provisions of the treaty.
State of Alabama Tax
Each state is governed by their own tax laws. A non-resident in the state of Alabama has a different meaning than a non-resident alien for federal tax purposes.
The state of Alabama does NOT honor federal tax treaties.
Individuals are only exempt from Alabama State tax if they make less than $1800.00/year.
City of Auburn Tax
Individuals working in the city limits of Auburn, AL will have a 1% tax withheld from their salary.
- You must have a US issued Social Security Number
- You must sign form 8233 each year that you qualify for the exemption. The NRA tax specialist will send these to you on an annual basis
- Once the NRA tax specialist has received the signed and dated form, the 8233 is sent to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS is given 10 business days to review the form for validity.
- Your treaty benefit will begin on the next available payroll.