Independent Contractor/Guest Traveler Payment Guidance
Eligibility for a nonresident alien to receive compensation from the University of Tennessee depends upon the individual’s immigration status.
Compensation, including honorarium, for contractors include the following services or payments:
- Participations in scientific, educational, professional or business conventions, conferences, or seminars
- Live performances
- Prizes and awards
- Flat payments for living expenses
- Business expense reimbursements – Lodging and travel expenses paid on a short-term basis, including per diem amounts paid for meals and incidentals, are not subject to tax and reporting as long as they are substantiated business expenses following IRS “accountable plan rules.”
International scholars and visitors who receive any of these payments are generally subject to 30% federal tax withholding, unless the amounts are either exempt under the terms of a tax treaty, subject to a reduced rate under the treaty, or exempt from tax under the Internal Revenue Code (accountable plan travel, for example). For additional information, go to item VII of the University of Tennessee Payroll Manual.
All Nonresident Alien Independent Contractors and Guest Travelers must complete the University of Tennessee Independent Contractor/Guest Traveler Payment Form and attach it to each payment request. This form must be accompanied by the following documents:
- IRS Form W-8BEN
(Generally, a Form W-8BEN provided without a U.S. TIN will remain in effect for a period starting on the date the form is signed and ending on the last day of the third succeeding calendar year, unless a change in circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect. A Form W-8BEN with a U.S. TIN will remain in effect until a change of circumstances makes any information on the form incorrect, provided the University reports on Form 1042-S at least one payment annually to the independent contractor/traveler).
- Copy of Passport
- Copy of Visa
- Copy of I-94 Departure Record
- Copy of Form I-20 (if F1 visa holder)
- Copy of Form DS2019 (if J1 visa holder)
Special rules for certain foreign visitors paid as independent contractors or guest travelers
- Visitors entering as Canadian citizens only need passport biographical page.
- Visitors entering under Visa Waiver program need ESTA approval or WB/WT stamp in passport.
- Honoraria may be paid only to NRA’s entering under B-1 or WB status if the NRA is engaged in usual academic activity or activities for nine days or less at UT and the NRA has not been paid or reimbursed by more than five other U.S. institutions or organizations during the preceding six months. Travel reimbursements may be made to visitors in B-1 and WB status for a reasonable period of time beyond nine days.
- Honoraria and travel reimbursements may only be paid to NRA’s entering under B-2 or WT status if the NRA is engaged in usual academic activity or activities for nine days or less at UT and the NRA has not been paid or reimbursed by more than five other U.S. institutions or organizations during the preceding six months.
- J-1 visitors not sponsored by UT receiving honoraria, speakers fees, or payment for services must have pre-approval from the Responsible Officer at their institution. Payment cannot be made without pre-approval from the RO at the sponsoring institution. Please attach this documentation.
- H1-B, TN, and O-1 visa holders may receive an honorarium only if they are sponsored by UT. If they are sponsored by another institution, they may only receive travel reimbursements under the University’s accountable plan.
- Visitors with a valid Social Security Number or ITIN from a tax treaty country may claim treaty benefits on IRS Form 8233. This replaces Form W8-BEN.
- Central Withholding Agreements (CWAs) are used by foreign athletes and entertainers who are planning a tour of the United States to arrange in advance an amount of U.S. income tax to be withheld on payments of income for events that are listed in the CWA, generally at a lower rate than would apply without a CWA. IRS Form 13930 provides the instructions on how to apply for a CWA.