Whether you’re new to the U.S. — or just new to CU — international employees have unique concerns. Whether you have questions about your pay, the U.S. tax system or your own tax obligations, the International Tax Office is here to make sure you can meet your payroll and tax obligations with knowledge and confidence. This section provides information for both nonresident alien and resident alien members of the CU community.
Step 1: Visit our orientation resources
We offer both a video course and a PDF quick reference guide to familiarize newly hired international employees with their payroll and tax responsibilities. Both of these valuable resources offer an overview of the important onboarding tasks required of all new international employees.
Step 2: Schedule an appointment
A meeting with the International Tax Office is mandatory for all new international employees and international students who receive a stipend issued through the university's payroll system.
Steps 3: Review information on your U.S. tax responsibilities
Once you've met with an international tax specialist to establish your U.S. tax residency status, please use these resources as a reference and reminder about your tax filing responsibilities and more.
Click the tile to the right that applies to your U.S. tax residency status.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a nonresident alien (NRA) and a resident alien (RA)?
International visitors to the United States are considered nonresidents for U.S. tax purposes for any calendar year in which they do not meet either the Substantial Presence Test or the Green Card Test described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
It is important to know one’s tax residency status because resident and nonresident taxpayers are subject to different taxes and tax rates, are required to file different tax forms and are eligible for different tax benefits.
Nonresident for U.S. tax purposes: A person who is not a U.S. citizen and who does not meet either the Substantial Presence Test or the Green Card Test described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
Resident for U.S. tax purposes: A person who is not a U.S. citizen and who meets either the Substantial Presence Test or the Green Card Test described in IRS Publication 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.
What is the substantial presence test (SPT)?
The substantial presence test (SPT) is a formula used by CU's international tax specialists to analyze an international visitor’s immigration status and history of presence in the United States to determine if the individual has spent enough time in the United States to be considered a resident alien for U.S. tax purposes.
Learn more on the IRS.gov substantial presence information page.
What does the International Tax Office do? When do I need to work with them?
The International Tax Office is a department of the University of Colorado Employee Services and is staffed with international tax specialists who work directly with all CU international employees.
The International Tax Office services non-U.S. individuals and entities receiving payment from the University of Colorado through payroll, accounts payable or student finance and their paying departments. The International Tax Office also serves as a system-wide subject matter expert in the area of nonresident alien tax compliance.
Email the International Tax Office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow 2-3 business days for response.
What is the difference between a CU International Employee and a CU Global Employee?
CU International Employees
- Resident or nonresident alien working inside the United States
- Subject to U.S. taxation, labor and employment laws
- Compliance resource: International Tax
CU Global Employee
- Any employee working outside the United States
- Subject to taxation, labor and employment laws in the country in which they are working
- Compliance resource: Global PEO Services
CU is not a global employer and is unable to service employees working from outside the U.S. Remote work from abroad may be possible through partnership with Global PEO Services, to ensure the university's compliance with foreign tax requirements, but requires careful advanced consideration and commitment by the hiring department.