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International employees can access crucial tax season help from Employee Services

As the calendar year winds down and we prepare for tax season, it’s important to give focused attention to the needs of our international faculty, researchers and students. The tax obligations for our international community can be complex and navigating the IRS’s requirements is a daunting prospect. Make sure your staff and faculty know that Employee Services’ International Tax Office has resources to help with their unique needs.

Remind new hires to meet with an international tax specialist

The most crucial step is to inform all new international hires that they must schedule a new employee appointment with the International Tax Office. Specialists in the International Tax Office will work with them to identify their U.S. tax residency status, facilitate any available tax treaty benefits and clarify their personal tax filing requirements. 

Ideally, international hires should complete their required consultation before they receive their first pay. The tax office will guide new employees in how to correctly complete Form W-4, which helps calculate the amount of income tax CU needs to withhold from an employee’s pay.

Because restrictions may apply to international employees, they should complete the W-4 form only after consulting with an international tax specialist. As with all new employees, until a valid W-4 has been submitted, international employees will be treated as a single filer with no withholding adjustments.

Appointment availability can be two to four weeks out on the calendar, so please direct your new international employees to schedule an appointment with the International Tax Office as soon as possible

As explained above, timeliness will have an impact on their correct tax withholding. However, delayed appointment availability will not affect their ability to begin working or negatively affect their pay.

Please note that international stipend recipients are also subject to special withholding rules and required to meet with the International Tax Office.

How to prepare your employees

To prepare for their virtual appointment, employees should:

  • Be prepared to submit electronic copies of their passport, I-94 and immigration documents. A Social Security Number is not required for the appointment but if one has been issued it should also be brought to the appointment.
  • Plan to review their entire history of presence in the United States, including previous visits in different immigration statuses.

Verify correct Tax ID numbers

Like with all employees, it’s critical that international employees have a valid Social Security Number (SSN) in HCM.  Please encourage employees to apply for their SSN timely and then monitor and follow up with those awaiting their SSN to ensure this critical data is available and accurate in HCM by the end of the tax year.

Refer to the Social Security Number Procedural Statement for guidance on how to manage your international employees who may not yet have been issued an SSN at the time of hire.  With the exception of CU Denver and CU Anschutz Medical Campuses, who should follow campus specific instructions, please do not enter ‘placeholder’ SSN data in HCM.

Tax preparation licenses available starting in early February

This year, International Tax Office has contracted with a new tax preparation vendor for international tax filing. Nonresident alien F-1/J-1 students and J-1 scholars who had an active SEVIS record with CU in 2021 will be able request a free license for the Sprintax tax preparation platform.

Sprintax helps nonresident alien taxpayers:

  • Determine U.S. tax residency status and tax return filing requirements.
  • Ensure applicable tax treaties are applied.
  • Determine whether you are due a tax refund or owe additional tax.
  • Prepare a federal tax return and Form 8843 that can be filed electronically for some or printed, reviewed, signed and mailed.

In addition, Sprintax offers state tax filing options for a fee. 

New licenses for the upcoming tax season will be available to eligible employees and students starting in early February and will be available while supplies last.  Please keep an eye on your email inbox and on the International Tax website for additional details

Learn more

Departments: Please consult with the International Tax office before hiring any employee who will work from outside the U.S. Reach out at intltax@cu.edu.

For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit the Employee Services' international employee webpage.

For questions regarding international employees' employment eligibility, please contact your campus I-9 office.

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