Yes, review the information below for more specific knowledge on the required documentation.
One of the first things your participant will need to do is fill out a W-4, just like any new hire. However, the instructions are a bit different. Here’s how to guide them:
- Do not use the Personal Allowances Worksheet at the top of the W-4. This is for U.S. residents.
- Check only “Single” marital status on line 3, regardless of actual marital status.
- Claim only one withholding allowance (enter “1” on line 5).
- Write “Nonresident Alien” or “NRA” above the dotted line on line 6 of Form W-4.
- J-1 Visitors cannot claim “Exempt” withholding status on line 7.
You will need to send a W-2 statement to your participant at the end of the tax year. If the job spans two tax years, you will need to send a second W-2 many months after the participant has returned home. Ensure you have recorded their permanent address in their home country to send their W-2 statement of earnings at the end of the year.
- Confirm your participant’s home address and email address before he or she leaves.
- If you use an online system to distribute W-2s, confirm that the participant has login information.
There are special procedures for J-1 participants. You must add a certain amount to their wages before calculating the correct withholding amount of federal tax only. The calculated tax is then withheld from their original pay. How much to add depends on your payroll frequency.
It is often difficult for international interns to understand the details of the American payroll systems and they are often confused by the various deductions that come out of their pay checks. To prevent unnecessary confusion we suggest you take just a moment with your intern to explain some of the details of their first paycheck. Show them the deductions taken for taxes, uniforms, etc. where applicable and explaining the difference between gross, net and year to date pay is also helpful.