Tax FAQ for Foreign National Conference attendees and presenters to George Mason
In making payments of any type to our international visitors, George Mason University (GMU) is required to comply with federal and state reporting and withholding requirements. We also need to be sure that the payments made to our visitors are allowable from an immigration perspective. These rules are extremely complex, and GMU has an International Tax Coordinator devoted exclusively to these matters to assist our visitors in understanding their U.S. tax obligations and to keep GMU in compliance with tax and immigration laws.
All nonimmigrant visaholders (including visa waiver visitors and walkovers from Canada) who will receive a payment or financial benefit of any type from GMU are required to meet with the Tax Coordinator to complete a tax packet and be interviewed. For the Outreach, Summer Institute and HES, this meeting will be set up by the staff for a day and time during the conference.
What kind of visa and paperwork do I need to obtain before the conference?
For our purposes, it is most appropriate for the individual to come to the U.S. as a business visitor (B-1 or VWB status), assuming they are not already in the U.S. in another status.
To be admitted to the U.S. in business status, individuals from most countries will need to apply for a B-1/B-2 visa at the U.S. embassy in their home country. Citizens of the following countries, however, are currently not required to get such a visa under the INS/DHS's Visa Waiver Program (VWP): Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. More information on the VWP can be found at:
The university also requires an I-94 marked "B-1" in order to be able to establish that the visitor meets the requirements for the 9/5/6 rule. An I-94 can be obtained for about $6 US at the port of entry.
**Citizens of Canada are exempt from visa requirements, but still need to request Form I-94 indicating admission in business status at the port of entry.
What is the 9/5/6 Rule?
Foreign nationals are eligible to receive honorarium payments from an organization if;
What if I am on another institution's J-1 Visa?
Your J-1 sponsor must provide written authorization for you to be paid your honorarium.
Are there more forms once I get to the conference?
Prior to the meeting all foreign nationals must complete:
W8 BEN(Certificate of foreign status for US tax withholding)
Form 8233 (If eligible for tax treaty benefits)
Certification of Eligibility this form is necessary for Independent Contractors in B or VW visa statuses receiving Honoraria and/or Travel and Incidental Expense Reimbursements
If payment is for a visitor in B-1 (visitor for business), B-2 (visitor for tourism), VWB or VWT (waiver for business or tourism), a statement must be executed and signed by the visitor, attesting that their independent services at GMU did not exceed the 9/5/6 rule.
What paperwork do I bring to the meeting with the Tax Coordinator?
All of the forms mentioned above, and all original immigration documents.
How much will be taken out for taxes?
The statutory federal withholding rate for payments to most nonresident aliens is 30%.