Tax Assistance - Foreign Individuals and Entities

Emory University continues to expand its reputation as a globally engaged institution and benefits from interactions with individuals and entities from all over the world. Payments for goods and services are made by Emory to individuals and entities that are located both inside and outside the United States.  Visitors to Emory (scholars and students) are involved in various services and activities for the university, and oftentimes it is appropriate to provide travel reimbursements, honoraria, scholarships, and other payments to them.

Emory also employs many international students and scholars through University payroll, and while some of the procedures for placing non-U.S. employees on payroll are similar to paying visitors, there are some differences as well. See the International Employees & Treaty Exemptions page for details.

In order to be able to process these payments to non-U.S. individuals and entities, the university is required to obtain specific information and follow certain regulatory procedures set for by Congress, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”), Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) as well as the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) including the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”), Internal Revenue Code, and Immigration Laws.    

The Office of the Controller offers valuable assistance on navigating the rules and regulations for making these payments using University Payroll and Accounts Payable. 

See the International Student and Scholar Tax FAQs for general information and frequently asked questions regarding tax filings and forms for foreign individuals.

Paying Foreign Entities

For payments to all types of entities not based in the U.S., Emory is required to have certain documentation on file regardless of whether the entity is a foreign corporation, partnership, government, or university. These rules apply no matter the purpose of the payment including the purchase of services, goods, inventory, equipment, materials, or supplies. Documentation for all payments includes a Foreign Source Statement as well as the appropriate IRS W-8 Series form. This documentation should be attached to each payment request whether created in Compass or Emory Express. Forms can be found on the Finance Forms page.

Certain of these payments are also subject to withholding of U.S. tax even though the entity is located outside the U.S. These are generally payments that relate to online subscriptions or software access or purchases of copyrights, trademarks, film viewing rights, or other items deemed to be payment of royalties. Tax determination will be made by the Emory Tax Department including the application of any treaty exemptions and must be done prior to sending payment. Emory must remit tax withholdings to the IRS on a weekly basis for payments made the prior week.

Paying Foreign Individuals located outside the U.S.

Emory makes payments to individuals that travel to the U.S. as well as to those that remain outside the U.S. Different rules apply for each. Generally, if the individual has not traveled to the U.S., there is no tax withholdings except if paying for online subscriptions or software access or purchases of copyrights, trademarks, film viewing rights, or other items deemed to be payment of royalties. Similar to these types of payments to foreign entities, Emory must withhold and remit taxes to the IRS.

For all payments to foreign individuals that have not traveled to the U.S., a Foreign Source Statement and Form W-8BEN must be attached to the payment request. Forms can be found on the Finance Forms page. 

See Paying foreign individuals through Compass on how to complete the payment request in Compass.

Paying Foreign Visitors to the U.S.

Foreign individuals come to Emory for a variety of activities including guest lecturing, performing, training, or study. Whether we can legally pay fees and honoraria or reimburse expenses to the individual and the tax treatment of the payment depends on many factors including (but not limited to) Visa status, length of travel to U.S., purpose of visit, country of tax residency, and prior visits to the U.S.  Payment of fees, honoraria, scholarships, awards, and even some expense reimbursements are taxable income to these visitors and require tax withholding. In addition, certain documentation must be provided for every payment regardless of purpose.