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Kansas State University

Non-Resident Alien Employment Tax Guidelines

Social Security/Medicare Taxes/Unemployment Taxes

Nonresident Aliens who are in the United States on a J1, F1, M1 or Q1 visa are usually exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes as well as unemployment tax. However, those on J1/F1 visas on non student appointments are not exempt from unemployment tax. Nonresident aliens who are in the United States on a H1B, TN, O1 or J2 visa are subject to Social Security and Medicare as well as unemployment tax. NOTE: Nonresident Aliens on a F2 visa are not allowed to work and should never be placed on the payroll.

Resident Aliens are subject to federal employment taxes same as U.S. citizens.

Income Tax Withholding Requirements

In general, federal income taxes on wages of nonresident alien employees must be withheld. For wages paid on or after January 1, 2010 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) applied a new procedure for calculating the amount of income tax to withhold from wages of nonresident alien employees performing services within the United States. Please refer to IRS Publication 15, Circular E, Employer's Tax Guide for 2014, page 20-21, for additional information. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf (pdf). Note: Nonresident alien students from India are not subject to these withholding procedures.

Nonresident Aliens in most cases are required to complete Form W-4 (pdf) claiming single status with one withholding allowance and writing "nonresident alien" above the dotted line on line 6 of Form W-4. They are not required to request an additional amount of withholding. They cannot claim exempt status. For additional information, please refer to IRS Notice 1392, Supplemental Form W-4 Instructions for Nonresident Aliens. http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/n1392.pdf (pdf). The rules for the K-4, Kansas Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate are the same as for the W-4.

Nonresident Aliens from tax treaty countries are also required to complete Form W-4 (pdf) claiming single status with one withholding and writing "nonresident alien" above the dotted line on line 6 of Form W-4. They can however, claim exempt status with some limitations. They must complete IRS form 8233 (pdf) and Appendix A or B, if applicable. Refer to the instructions to complete the 8233. (pdf) Please refer to Tax Treaty Summary for country and whether an Appendix A or Appendix B is required. Note: GTA'S, GRA'S and GA'S are considered students. The rules for the K-4, Kansas Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate are the same as for the W-4.

J-2 Visa Holders are required to complete Form W-4 (pdf) claiming single status with no more than one withholding allowance and writing "nonresident alien" above the dotted line on line 6 of Form W-4. They cannot claim exempt status regardless of their country origin. The rules for the K-4, Kansas Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate are the same as for the W-4.

General Rules on Completing Form W-4 for Nonresident Aliens

  • Line 3  "Single" marital status should be checked (regardless of actual marital status.)
  • Line 5  Claim only one (1) withholding allowance, unless a resident of Canada, Mexico, or South Korea. (See below)
    • Canada or Mexico
      • Nonresidents are allowed same personal exemption as U.S. citizens
    • South Korea
      • Nonresidents are allowed personal exemptions for themselves, their spouses, and children who live in the U.S. at any time during the tax year.
  • Line 6  Write "Nonresident Alien" or "NRA" above the dotted line on line 6 of Form W-4 (pdf).