Generally, resident aliens are treated the same as U.S. citizens for tax purposes. Resident aliens can therefore follow the standard W-4 instructions, and will receive a Form W-2 for work as an employee, or a 1099-MISC if they receive a reportable award or provided services as a contractor. Non-resident aliens however must follow the special W-4 instructions contained in IRS Notice 1392.
The Tax Department maintains non-resident alien W-4s to ensure that they are properly prepared, and that taxes are appropriately deducted. However, the Tax Department can only verify W-4 information for non-resident aliens that submit the UNT System Foreign National Form; more information regarding the Foreign National Form is provided below.
Non-resident aliens that believe that they are exempt from withholding should not seek to claim a treaty exemption by claiming that they are exempt from withholding on the W-4. Rather all non-resident aliens should ensure that they fill out and return the Foreign National Form, with required attachments, prior to starting employment. The Tax Department uses the Foreign National Form to document international students and employees’ tax status, so it is imperative that non-resident aliens provide the form before receiving any compensation from UNT System.
Also, certain non-resident aliens are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes, so providing the Foreign National Form will help ensure that these taxes are not deducted. Upon receipt of the Foreign National Form the Tax Department will inform non-resident aliens about other tax forms that may be needed, such as Form 8233 (Tax treaty form). The link to the Foreign National Form is provided below the section on Form 1042-S.
The Tax Department issues Form 1042-S to non-resident alien students that receive taxable scholarships, and employees that receive income that is fully or partially exempt from withholding. Forms 1042-S are issued by March 15 each year.