The Payroll department is responsible for processing salary, wage, fellowship and special payments for all Virginia Tech employees. Payroll department responsibilities include, but are not limited to, all payroll related tax deposits and related reporting, administration of the timekeeping system, W2 processing & filing, administration of unemployment reporting and claims processing, payroll retroactive funding changes, payments to third party benefit providers, review of all payments to foreign national employees and vendors, 1042s reporting, and collecting and disbursing income withholding orders, garnishments, and liens. 

Unemployment Compensation Overview

If an employee becomes unemployed through no fault of his or her own, they may qualify for unemployment compensation. This procedure explains how departments should handle unemployment claims received, and gives a brief overview for employees and departments of how the process is handled by Virginia Tech and the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC).

All determinations of eligibility are made by the Virginia Employment Commission, not Virginia Tech.  Even though employees are eligible to file a claim, this does not guarantee they will receive benefits. 

  •  All employees of the University other than students are covered under State unemployment regulations. 
  •  Students employed on a nonstudent basis are treated like any other non-student employee, and are entitled to file unemployment claims. 
  •  Any department receiving a VEC Employer's Report of Separation and Wage Information form, or other communication from the VEC, should immediately email the form to the Payroll Department in the Controller's Office to  
  •  Upon receiving a form/claim notice/request for separation information from the VEC or from the department, the Payroll department will request separation information from the department and gather information from HR if a salary employee and we will then complete the form(s), and submit the completed form(s) to the VEC. 
  •  Any further communication received will be shared with the department and we will coordinate any requests for fact finding interviews between the VEC and the employing department.     If we do not participate in scheduled fact finding interviews we could receive a fine.  Payroll will request a contact from the department who will participate in the call. 
  • Employees can file an appeal from determination notices where they have been determined to be ineligible or denied for benefits. This appeal notice with will be shared with the department once received from the VEC.   There are two levels of appeal for their claim. 
  • As the employer, Virginia Tech also has appeal rights on determinations. If you choose to do so, follow the instructions for appeal included on the determination. The appeal must be made by the deadline listed. If an appeal hearing is scheduled and the Payroll office is notified, the information will be forwarded to the department. The department must follow the instructions on the appeal packet to participate. Once a determination from the appeal is received, this will be forwarded to the department.
  • Virginia Tech is a reimbursable employer, which means we are billed quarterly for our total unemployment payments made to claimants. The Payroll Department receives the bill and submits a PO through Hokie Mart to be paid, along with a notice of the breakdown of charges for review. 
  • Fraudulent claims have become more commonplace over the last couple of years; if a claim is received that is believed to be fraudulent, the Payroll Department will reach out to the employee to verify whether the employee has filed for benefits and if they have not what steps to take next.  The employee should follow the instructions in the email.  The department will be copied. Virginia Tech will also file a report of fraud with the VEC.   If you have an employee that has received a notice from the VEC that you have filed for unemployment and they have not made a claim for unemployment benefits, please notify us at

**If you are filing a claim for unemployment benefits and have been separated from your most recent job because your employer is reducing staff or has closed you should select  Lack of Work/Laid Off/ Reduction in Force as your reason for separation from this company/institution.** 

• IF TOTALLY UNEMPLOYED, ON A TEMPORARY LAYOFF, OR IF WORKING REDUCED HOURS:  The first week you are unemployed or reduced hours, file the initial claim for benefits.   

• Use this link to the Claimant Self Service System where you can initiate a claim. 

• The earliest a weekly claim (the first full week you are unemployed) can be filed is on Sunday of the week being claimed.  i.e. claimant wishes to file for benefit week ending 06/27/2020, they need to file on Sunday 06/28/2020 at the earliest.

• Student employees (UG or GR) are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits in normal circumstances and we do not report their earnings for unemployment benefits. 

• Once a claimant/employee files with the VEC, the VEC will check their earnings that were reported each quarter that they were employed, and they will send a request for separation information to their last 30 day or other employers. 

• Benefits are based on the claimants wages earned in their base period. The ‘base period” is comprised of the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding a claim’s effective date.

• A claimant’s determination for eligibility is also based on their separation details from the last 30 day employer (which in some cases is not VT). 

• For an employee/claimant to qualify for benefits, an individual must have earned at least a total of $3,000 in two quarters in the base period (see above).** 

• The Weekly Benefit Amount is determined by the two quarters with the highest earnings during the base period (which could include earnings from another/other employer).  Total wages reported during the base period determine the maximum benefit amount.  Once the claim is established and reflects all earnings during their base period, the amount they qualify for remains the same for one year and is available until the maximum benefit amount or the benefit year is exhausted, whichever comes first.  Currently the maximum weekly benefit amount is $378** and the minimum is $60**.  Individuals must have earned at least $18,900.01** in two quarters during the base period to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount.  Benefit duration varies from 12 to 26 weeks**, also depending on wages earned in the base period.   Also, wages earned in other states, in their base period, can be used to establish a claim.    

• For information pertaining to unemployment benefits and the 2020 CARES act, the PUA program, or the 2021 American Rescue Plan, please contact the VEC or visit the U.S. Department of Treasury Website. 

• If you filed a claim in 2020 and have since received a notice of re-payment or a determination notice of denied benefits, questions should be directed to the VEC.  Although we reported the reason for separation as Lack of Work due to COVID19 affecting operations on campus and not due to a break in semesters, the determination by the VEC is made according to this state code.  You can file an appeal from this determination. 

• If you have received a notice from the VEC that you have filed for unemployment and you have not made a claim for unemployment benefits, please notify us at and also report the fraud using the VEC Reporting Unemployment Insurance Fraud page. The VT payroll department will also file a report of a fraudulent claim but it would be in your best interest to monitor your credit to ensure you do not see any other fraudulent activity.

• For questions about tax reporting on unemployment benefits, please contact the VEC Customer Contact Center at 1-866-832-2363.

Basic Steps to Qualify for State Unemployment Benefits per the VEC

• Claimants must file for unemployment benefits online or with the call center

• Claimants must meet the monetary qualification requirement

• Claimants must meet the separation qualification requirement

• Claimants must meet the weekly eligibility requirement

**Visit the VEC website for the most recent updates on filing, eligibility, determinations, the maximum weekly benefit periods and other questions related to the unemployment process. 

Frequently asked questions of unemployment benefit charges– Things to know when you receive a requisition from the Payroll office to pay unemployment benefits.

The claimant has filed and has been declared eligible for unemployment benefits based on their separation from another 30 day employer. If his/her employment and wages with Virginia Tech fall within the base Period wages, we will receive a bill for our portion of those benefits.

The Base Period wages establish monetary eligibility for Unemployment Compensation. The “Regular Base Period” comprises the first four of the last five completed calendar quarters preceding a claim’s effective date.    i .e. Claimant filed and is eligible for benefits effective 2/28/12 so the based period for that claim is any eligible (non-student) employment  during October 2010 through September 2011. 

The percentage of the claim Virginia Tech will be responsible for is based on how many months the claimant was employed with Virginia Tech during the base period. If Virginia Tech is the only 30 day employer within the 12 month base period, Virginia Tech will pay 100% of the benefits.  If the claimant was only employed with Virginia Tech during six of the twelve months, then we will be liable for 50% of the total benefit amount.  

A claimant must have worked for at least 30 days with the employer or 240 hours. 

Currently the claimant can file for an extension of benefits.

Currently (as of 4/10/13, per the VEC website) the maximum weekly benefit amount is $378 and the minimum is $54. Individuals must have earned at least $18,900.01 in two quarters during the base period to qualify for the maximum weekly benefit amount. Benefit duration varies from 12 to 26 weeks, also depending on wages earned in the base period.

No. We are a reimbursable employer.  We are responsible to pay 100% of the bill received from the Virginia Employment Commission.    If you question a charge, you may contact our office at and the charge will be researched.  If found that the charge is not legitimate the VEC will be contacted and if it is found that we are not responsible for the charge the VEC will issue a credit, once the money has been reimbursed to the VEC from the claimant. 

When you receive the quarterly request to approve charges via Hokie Mart for Unemployment benefits, please approve within the requested timeframe.  As mentioned above, if you dispute a charge, please let our office know and the dispute will be researched. 

Eligibility is determined by the Virginia Employment Commission.  We have no way of knowing if a claimant will be eligible or not eligible for benefits based on their reason for separation.

It is very important that all requests for information on claims that the payroll office has received are returned in a timely manner, especially if there is a telephonic fact finding interview scheduled.   

Generally speaking, the information provided from you and then returned to the VEC from the payroll office via the forms submitted assist the VEC deputy in determining eligibility.     This will in turn hopefully prevent Virginia Tech from paying benefits for someone who should not be eligible based on the regulations regarding their separation. 

Federal and State Withholdings – Non-US Tax Residents

Foreign National Employees are considered non-residents for tax purposes unless they meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test for the calendar year January 1-December 31. Employees can have both statuses in the same year depending on when they arrive in or exit from the U.S. 

Foreign Nationals in a non-resident tax status should contact the Payroll Office for Non-Resident Alien (NRA) specific tax forms. NRAs may be eligible to claim tax treaty benefits. The Payroll Office will assist employees in determining tax residency status and tax treaty eligibility.  Please note, Foreign National employees in a non-resident tax status cannot change their withholding that is deemed by the IRS regardless of circumstances.  


Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA)

Student FICA Tax Exemption

Virginia Tech follows the safe harbor outlined in Revenue Procedure 2005-11 which states that an individual who is a half-time undergraduate student, a half-time graduate or a professional student qualifies for the student FICA exception with respect to services performed for an institution of higher education.  All students employed by and enrolled at VT and who meet these safe harbor guidelines will be treated as exempt from FICA taxes, while those student employees who do not meet the guidelines will be subject to FICA taxes on their wages. 

Any student worker that has an active Faculty or Staff assignment is not eligible for the FICA exemption on any assignment, no exceptions.

Students who work during breaks and are not enrolled in additional classes will have Social Security and Medicare withheld from their pay over the break.


FICA Status of Foreign Nationals 

Both the Internal Revenue Code (26 USC 3121 (b) (19)) and the Social Security Act (42 USC 410 (a) (19)) allow an exemption from Social Security/Medicare taxes to alien students, scholars, teachers, researchers, trainees, physicians, and other non-immigrants who have temporarily entered the country on F-1, J-1, M-1, Q-1, or Q-2 visas and who are classed as nonresident aliens under the residency rule.

This means that foreign students in F-1, J-1, or M-1 non-immigrant status who have been in the U.S. less than 5 calendar years are considered Non-Resident Aliens (NRA) and are exempt from FICA taxes.

Foreign students who have been in the U.S. longer than  5 calendar years are deemed Resident Aliens and are liable for FICA taxes unless qualifying for the student FICA exemption under IRC section 3121 (b) (10) previously discussed in this policy.

It is the responsibility of the hiring department and/or employee to notify the Payroll Office if they are in the US on a qualifying Visa in order to ensure they receive the proper tax treatment.


Over withheld Income Taxes

As an employer, VT is required to withhold income taxes from an employee’s pay according to the employee’s W-4 and VA-4 forms that are on record at the time of payment. It is the employee’s responsibility to complete these tax forms and to do so correctly. If an employee fails to complete the forms, and if income taxes are over withheld as a result, the Payroll Department will not refund any of the taxes withheld. If eligible, the employee can obtain a refund of any over withheld income taxes when filing a personal income tax return for that year.


Changing Tax Information

If an employee wants to change their current tax withholding rate, a new W-4 and/or VA-4 Form must be completed in Employee Self-Service (ESS). Changes may be made at any time throughout the year. A W-4 or VA-4 form remains in effect until the employee submits a new form. When an employee submits a W-4 or VA-4 form that replaces an existing form, the Payroll Department must implement the withholding change no later than 30 days from the date the form is received. The withholding change cannot be implemented for a payroll period that ends prior to receipt of the new form.


Exemption from Withholding

Employees can claim exempt from income tax withholding, if they meet IRS guidelines, or State  guidelines. Information on claiming exemption from withholding can be found on the requisite tax forms. By claiming exempt status, no federal and/or state taxes will be withheld.


Mandatory Renewal of Exemption from Withholding

The exempt status expires at the end of the every calendar year. Each calendar year, employees must complete new tax forms to claim exempt status for both the Federal and State.

If an employee’s exempt status is not renewed annually, VT must begin withholding income taxes during the next pay period at the last applicable withholding status or the default maximum withholding amount, single with zero exemptions. No refunds will be given by the Payroll Department due to an employee’s failure to update tax documents timely.

Q: When will I be paid?

A: Virginia Tech uses one pay cycle for wage employees and a different pay cycle for salary employees.  Actual pay days are dictated by the state and can be found by clicking on this link: Pay and Holiday Calendar.

Wage employees are paid for work from the 1st to the 15th of the month at the end of that month and paid for work from the 16th to the last day of the month in the middle of the following month, click here for Wage Payroll Schedule.

Salaried employees are paid for work from the 10th to the 24th of the month at the end of the month and paid for work from the 25th to the 9th in the middle of the month. click here for Salary Payroll Schedule.

Q: How will I receive my pay?

A: Direct deposit of pay is mandatory for all wage and salary employees hired (or rehired) after August 1, 2008 (limited exceptions apply). All employees of the University are strongly encouraged to have their pay directly deposited to a bank. Employees can enroll in Direct Deposit online under the Hokie Team menu of the Hokie SPA. This service allows quick and easy enrollment and maintenance of your banking information for direct deposit. Your information will be processed overnight and you will be sent an email to your email address confirming your enrollment or change.

Q: I will be receiving a payroll payment by check; where and when will it be available?

A: Checks for on campus employees are available at the Bursar’s Office on payday.  Manual checks are available 5 business days after payday. The Bursar’s Office is located in the Student Services Building; Suite 150 at 800 Washington Street SW. Checks for off campus employees will be mailed from the Bursar’s office on payday.

Q: How do I receive my Earnings and Deductions Statements (Pay Stubs)?

A: You may sign up for electronic delivery on the Hokie Spa to receive your pay stub. If you do not have access to a computer and require a paper pay stub, you will need to fill out the earnings & deductions statement preference form and send it to the payroll office.  Once it has been processed, paper pay stubs are printed by the Bursar’s Office and forwarded to the department for distribution to the employee.

Q: I missed the entry deadline to post hours for a new employee, is there any way to get them paid before the next pay date two weeks from now?

A: The department can request that a manual payment be processed for any employee whose hours were not posted during payroll data entry.   The employee must be set-up and approved on the Banner HRIS system prior to submitting the request.  There are two (2) request forms, one for wage employees and one for salaried employees including graduate students.  The request form needs to be submitted to the Payroll Office via our secure Payroll drop box: within three (3) business days of the payroll date.  Manual checks are available for pick up in the Bursar’s Office five (5) business days after the regularly scheduled payday.  Manual checks CANNOT be direct deposited.  A self-addressed stamped envelope must be provided for off-campus employees.

  Manual Payment Request Forms can be obtained from the payroll website at:

Q: Where is the Payroll office located?

A: We are located in the Controller’s Office on the 3rd floor of the North End Center; 300 Turner Street NW.  We are in the building behind Buffalo Wild Wings when viewing from Prices Fork Road.

Q: What is the Payroll Office telephone number?

A: The main Payroll Office telephone number is (540)-231-5201

Q: How do I set up a new employee as a user in TimeClock Plus?

A: New user instructions are located on page 2-3 of the TimeClock Plus Procedures for the Central Admin Process Heather please refer to the file?

Q: What do I do if I get a message that says” You are not recognized as an Employee by TimeClock Plus”?

A: Verify that you are on the correct website. You should be in:

Q: When will I receive my tax forms from Virginia Tech?

A: Employers are required to supply tax forms by Jan 31st each year for the preceding calendar year.  Current and former employees can log in to Hokie Spa/ADP and download their forms as soon as they are available.  If you do require a mailed copy, please ensure that your elect to receive your tax forms by mail, and your name and mailing address are correct before forms are mailed out.

Q: I have misplaced my W-2, how do I get a new one?

A: You can request a duplicate W-2 after February 15th by emailing  Please be sure to include your name, personal identification number, current and correct mailing address, and reason for requesting a duplicate form. There is a $5 fee per year to process prior year W2 forms.  Please send a check for $5 payable to Treasurer of Virginia Tech to VT Controller’s Office, 300 Turner ST NW, Suite 330 North End Center, Blacksburg VA 24061.  When the funds are received the forms will be mailed. 

Q: I recently graduated from Virginia Tech. I cannot access the tax forms via HokieSpa anymore. Can you email me the tax forms or send them to me via regular mail?

A: If you do not have access to HokieSpa you would have to pull the document from ADP. Instructions below:

  • Virginia Tech is partnering with ADP to deliver W-2s to all eligible current and former employees. With ADP, you will be able to download employee tax information directly into tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax, H&R Block, etc.
  • W-2s are now posted to ADP’s site. As a former employee of Virginia Tech, you will need to register with ADP to access your 2021 W-2 by following these instructions:
  • ·         Go to
  • ·         Click “Create Account”.
  • ·         Enter the following Registration Code: VAPOLYTECH-VTW2
  • ·         The following information will be required for validation purposes:
  • o   First Name
  • o   Last Name
  • o   Full Social Security Number
  • o   Birth Month, Day, Year
  • ·         Click “Continue” and select an option to verify your identity. If you choose ask questions, a pop up will appear and then ask several questions.
  • After completing the questions, you will be prompted to complete a registration process during which you will select a unique password. Passwords must contain between 8 and 20 characters with at least one alpha and one numeric character. Additionally, users will be assigned a system generated User ID. Once you have completed the registration process, you should “Bookmark” or “Add to your favorites” the URL,
  • Your preferred delivery method to receive W-2s (i.e. online or by U.S. mail) has been transferred to ADP for the 2021 W2. You will have the option to choose printed or electronic delivery on the ADP site for future W-2 forms. ADP will mail paper W-2 forms to the home address of record in Banner by Jan. 31.

Q: What forms do I need to complete a tax return?

TAX STATEMENTS (As a general rule, tax statements are required to be available by January 31st)

W-2 – Wage and Tax Statement is prepared and issued to you by your employer.  It will show the wages that you earned from that employer, both the Federal and State taxes that were withheld.  If applicable it will also show Social Security/Medicare wages and the taxes withheld.

 1042-S – Foreign Person’s US Source Income Subject to Withholding form is prepared and issued only to nonresident aliens.  The 1042-S will generally show any income received from your employer that is not reportable on the W-2.  Types of income may include but are not limited to: income that was exempted from tax withholding because of a tax treaty; income from a scholarship, stipend, fellowship, assistantship; prizes/awards, royalties, etc.   Form 1042-S is required to be available no later than March 15th, if you elect to receive your1042-S by mail, Virginia Tech will also mail to you by March 15th.

A Form 1099 is a tax statement prepared and issued by someone other than your employer who provided you with income.  The most common that are issued are 1099-INT (Interest Income); 1099-DIV (Dividend Income); 1099-R (Retirement Income).  Not everyone will receive a 1099 but if you do you are required to include it on your tax return. If you are a contractor for Virginia Tech, and are paid more than $600 per year, Accounts Payable will issued a 1099 for you.

1098-T – Tuition Statement: Most students will receive a Form 1098T from their school. The purpose of this form is to substantiate that the recipient was a student during the year. Further, the form can be used to provide information for possible education credits. Non-resident aliens are not entitled to any of the educational credits and do not need to do anything with Form 1098T. Please contact Bursar’s office if you have any question for your 1098-T.

Q: When do the forms need to be filed?

A: Federal tax return forms (1040NR; 1040NR-EZ; 8843; 1040; 1040-EZ) are required to be filed by April 15th.  If an application for extension (Form 4868) is being filed it also has to be filed by April 15th. Virginia State tax return forms (760; 760PY) are required to be filed by May 1st.  If an application for extension (760E) is being filed it also has to be filed by May 1st.

Q: The amount on my W2 seems low. How do I check to make sure that my W2 is correct?

A: Your W2 will display your taxable earnings for the previous calendar year.  You can verify that number by comparing it to your taxable earnings statement available in Hokie Spa under Hokie Team/Pay Information.

Q: There are three codes in Box 14 of my W-2?  Those are “RET”, “HI”, and “OTH”. What do they mean?

A: The codes are RET—pretax retirement deductions, HI—pretax health insurance deductions and OTH—pretax parking and medical reimbursement and fees.  All of these amounts have already been deducted from the amount in box 1.  They are there for your information only.

Q: I'm a GA and Full-time student at VT and there are no amounts in boxes 3, 4, 5, 6 which are the Social Security wages, Social Security tax withheld, Medicare wages and Medicare tax withheld. Is there an error on my form or does Virginia Tech not withhold these deductions?

A: IRS guidelines state that if a student works for a university where they are actively attending classes their wages are exempt from social security and Medicare taxes.

Q: Why was Virginia state tax deducted from my most recent pay check?  I am a resident of another state and pay my state taxes there and have previously filled out paperwork stating that I am exempt from paying VA state tax.

A:  In order to be exempt from Virginia income tax withholding a new VA4 form must be completed each year.  The form you completed in last year has expired and that is why the tax is now being withheld.  To stop the withholding for the remainder of this year you will need to complete the exemption status for the Virginia State Income Tax:

•             Log in to Hokie Spa:

•             Select Hokie Team, then Tax Forms

•             Select VA-4 Tax Exemptions/Allowances

•             Click Update at the bottom center of the screen

•             Effective Date of Change should reflect 02/10/2023

•             At the bottom portion of the screen follow the instructions under “If the Deduction Status is EXEMPT, …..”

o             If you are eligible for the exemption under the Service member Civil Relief Act (the 2nd check box), please send a copy of your (spousal) military identification card to

•             Change Deduction Status, change from Active to Exempt and click Certify Changes

•             Click OK to certify changes

•             A “Tax Update Confirmation” message should appear indicating the update was successfully processed 

Q: Is it possible to have other state taxes withheld from my future paychecks to avoid the financial burden when filing my state taxes?


A: Currently VT is only set up to withhold any state taxes in DC, MD, NC and WV other than Virginia.  If you are working remotely in DC, MD, NC and WV, you can opt out of Virginia State Tax being withheld if you do not have a liability in VA. Some out of state employees withhold VA income tax during the year, file the nonresident return, get the refund and use the refund to pay their state tax to their state of residence.  Others have no VA state tax withheld and make estimated payments to their state of residence during the year so their state tax is paid when they file their return. Please refer to the link for details:

Q: Aren’t foreign nationals automatically exempt from FICA and Medicare taxes?

A: No. Your visa type determines what taxes you must pay:


FICA and Medicare


Exempt for the first 5 years from date of entry; thereafter may be exempt based on student enrollment.

J-1 Students

Exempt for the first 5 years from date of entry; thereafter may be exempt based on student enrollment.

J-1 Scholars, Researchers

Exempt for either the first 2 calendar years in the US, or 2 out of the first 6 calendar years in the US regardless of visa status

H-1B, O-1, TN

Must pay FICA.

J-2, H-2

Must pay FICA.

Q: I am a visa holder, are there any restrictions to my employment?

A: Restrictions to employment are based on the type of visa you have been issued:

·         F-1 (students) visa holders may work on campus for no more than 20 hours per week, during the school session and up to and including 40 hours per week during school breaks, including summer.  

·         J-1 visa holders may only work for the sponsoring employer (i.e. Virginia Tech). Persons on a J-1 Student visa would have the same restrictions as those on a F-1 visa which requires full-time enrollment. Persons on a J-1 Visitor visa may only work for the sponsoring employer within the guidelines of the program approved by the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) for the period designated by the DS-2019.

·         TN visa holders restricts the position that you are employed into must be in a profession listed on Schedule 2 of NAFTA, ( and you must also meet the minimum education requirements and alternative credentials necessary to be considered a professional.

·         An H1-B visa or an O-1 visa is employer specific, job specific.  This means that persons on an H1-B or O-1 visa may only work for the sponsoring employer within the guidelines of the program/position approved by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for the period designated on Form I-797B.

Q: I have an Honorarium or I am a Guest Speakers/Independent Contractors/etc.; are there any restrictions to my employment?

A: Restrictions for paying a non-resident alien as anything other than an employee will be determined by the visa type that you hold.

Q: I am not a US citizen, what documents do I need to work for Virginia Tech?

A: The following document/forms must be properly completed/copied and submitted by the employing department to the Payroll Office (0339).  Please forward the forms as soon as possible and it is preferred that all the forms for one person are together: 

  1. I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification Form)
  2. Foreign National Data Form
  3. Federal Form W-4
  4. State Form VA-4
  5. A legible their Social Security Card – this can be mailed separately, but should be sent within 30 days of hire.
  6. Visa page of their passport
  7. I-94 Card (Departure Record) – this is a white card that is usually stapled in the passport across from the Visa page.
  8. F-1 Visa holders a legible copy of the I-20, preferably the copy that has been date stamped by the USCIS.
  9. J-1 Visa holders a legible copy of the DS-2019, preferably the copy that has been date stamped by the USCIS.
  10. For other visa holders, a copy of their EAD (Employment Authorization Document) card or other employment authorization document such as Form I-797A.

Q: What documents are needed to provide an Honoraria payment to a foreign national at Virginia Tech?

A: The following firms are required:

  • Independent Contractor Evaluation Form (20 Questions) completed by the department
  • Foreign National Date Form completed by the foreign national
  • W-8 Honoraria Form completed by the foreign national
  • Form 8233 to claim tax treaty if applicable, must have either a SSN or ITIN to claim a tax treaty benefit.
  • W-9 Certification of Taxpayer Identification Number for Individuals (only if person is a US citizen or a US Resident Alien).

Legible (readable) copies of the following must accompany the Voucher/DOPP form:

·         Picture page of their passport

·         Copy of their visa page (Canadians or individuals from a Visa waiver country will not have a visa),

·         Copy of their I-94 card.

·         Copy of SSN or ITIN –the foreign national will need to apply for either a SSN or ITIN if they do not already have one.  We recommend that these numbers be applied for prior to their visit, as the foreign national must have either a SSN or ITIN for us to process the payment.  

Q: Are there any restrictions to paying a foreign vendor?

A: At Virginia Tech our effort are to maintain tax compliance with the IRS while trying to be a responsible partner to our foreign visitors. 

·         All work performed outside of the US – Payments to foreign corporations/vendors for work that is performed outside of the US is neither reportable nor taxable.

·         Work partially performed outside the US and partially inside the US – Payments to foreign corporations/vendors for work that is performed inside the US is taxable in the US at a rate of 30% unless there is a tax treaty either exempting the tax or reducing the taxable rate.   The portion of the work performed outside of the US is neither reportable nor taxable.  It is in the best interest of the vendor and the department to clearly define the portion of the payment that is for services performed in the US and the portion of the services that were completed outside the US.

·         All work performed inside the US – Payments to foreign corporations/vendors for work that is performed inside the US is taxable in the US at a rate of 30% unless there is a tax treaty either exempting the tax or reducing the taxable rate.

·         The transaction is for tangible goods – Payments for tangible goods (i.e. CD’s, books, supplies, lab samples, etc.) are considered foreign source and the payment is neither reportable nor taxable.

·         The transaction is for intangible goods – Payments for intangible goods (i.e. software licenses, access of databases utilizing the internet only, copyrights, publishing, recording, etc.) are considered royalties by the IRS because we are purchasing the right to use them and not actually receiving a good.  Payments of royalties from sources in the US are taxable at a rate of 30% unless there is a tax treaty either exempting the tax or reducing the taxable rate.


Q: I am not a US citizen, why do I have to file a United States (US) tax return?

A: Under US tax law all monies received and earned in the US by individuals living in the US are subject to US federal withholding taxes.  The taxes withheld are reported to and deposited with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by your employer.  A tax return is required to be completed by the individual to report all income they have received from all sources (wages, savings, investment, lottery winnings, etc.), and showing the tax liability for those earnings.

Q: I am not a US citizen, when do tax forms need to be filed?

A: All Federal tax return forms (1040NR; 1040NR-EZ; 8843; 1040; 1040-EZ) are required to be filed by April 15th.  If an application for extension (Form 4868) is being filed it also has to be filed by April 15th. Virginia State tax return forms (760; 760PY) are required to be filed by May 1st.  If an application for extension (760E) is being filed it also has to be filed by May 1st.

Q: What is a tax treaty and how does it benefit me?

A: A tax treaty is an agreement between the US and a foreign government to minimize double taxation of income.  To the foreign national earning income this means that certain payments made to them may be exempt from US tax based on the terms of the tax treaty.

Q: I think I am eligible for a tax treaty, is there a form I need to file for a tax treaty exemption?

A: Yes, Form 8233 must be completed to claim tax treaty benefits.  Form 8233 allows you to claim "exempt" from federal withholding on earnings as allowed by certain tax treaties. You have to submit an 8233 form when you are hired/rehired, whenever you change job types or visa types, and each December for the upcoming calendar year if the tax treaty is to be applied.  If form 8233 is not filed, the tax treaty will not be applied, and Virginia Tech will not issue a tax refund if taxes are withheld.  You would still be able to claim the tax treaty when you file your tax return (Form 1040-NR) with the IRS to obtain a refund of taxes withheld during the year.

Q: How is a tax treaty applied to Scholarships or Fellowships?

Like wages, some tax treaties also exempt monies paid via scholarships or fellowships. For further details, go to the IRS web site (, and see IRS Publications 515, 519, 520, and 901.

Q: With which countries does the US currently have a tax treaty?

See IRS Publication 901. For further questions, go to the IRS web site (, or call 1-800-829-1040.

Q: what is my tax status for the purpose of filing US tax returns?

A: Please see the residency flow chart for a guide to tax residency status

If you are employed by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organization, you might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.   


If you have a PSLF form to be completed, please submit it to the HR Service Center. 

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