The U.S. has income tax treaties with many foreign countries. Tax treaties provide residents of foreign countries with reduced tax rates or exemptions from U.S. income tax on certain items of income received from sources within the U.S. The tax treaty benefits vary by country and income type.
A reduced U.S. tax rate or exemption may apply to you if there is a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home country and may be applicable to both federal tax and state tax. You must renew claimed tax treaty benefits annually.
Glacier Tax Compliance System
VPF HR/Payroll provides access to the Glacier Tax Compliance System (GTCS) to help foreign national students and scholars determine their U.S. tax status (nonresident alien vs. resident alien). GTCS can also determine if you are exempt from paying U.S. tax due to your home country’s tax treaty with the U.S. GTCS is not connected to the Glacier Tax Preparation software used to prepare federal tax returns.
Tax Treaty Exemption
GTCS will determine your U.S. tax residency status and your eligibility for a tax treaty based on the information you enter about your presence in the U.S. GTCS will generate tax forms (e.g. W-4, 8233, W-8-BEN) for you to submit to VPF HR/Payroll (email@example.com). VPF HR/Payroll will use these forms to determine how much money to deduct from your pay for taxes and process your tax treaty coverage, if applicable. Please note that these tax forms are not the same as the individual income tax returns you are responsible for submitting annually.
GTCS will ask for your Social Security number (SSN) in order to generate a tax treaty document. If you are waiting on an SSN, you may enter all of your information and then go back into GTCS once you have your SSN to complete the process. Glacier will not be able to generate tax forms to claim tax treaty benefits until you have provided your SSN.
These tax-related documents are needed by VPF HR/Payroll in order to administer your pay correctly and in accordance with applicable laws and treaties.
Please note that the tax-related documents you print from GTCS for submission to MIT are not the year-end tax forms you will file with the IRS and state tax authorities during tax season.
VPF HR/Payroll Assistance
A VPF HR/Payroll foreign national tax specialist holds office hours at the Atlas Service Center in E17-106 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 am through 4:30 pm to help international students, faculty, researchers, and staff determine their U.S. tax status.
Log in to Atlas—MIT’s self-service and administrative systems hub—to book these appointments online. See the Atlas Full Catalog menu on the left. Choose Atlas Service Center In-person Services, then Tax Treaty Guidance, to book appointments at the Atlas Service Center.
Additional IRS Resources
IRS Publication 901 will also help you determine whether a tax treaty between the U.S. and your home country offers a reduced rate of, or possibly a complete exemption from, U.S. income tax for residents of that country. The IRS website contains full text of tax treaties, technical explanations, and protocols. The IRS tax treaty tables provide a summary of different income types and withholding tax benefits received under a treaty.
The content in this website is provided for informational purposes only. MIT does not offer legal, accounting, or tax advice and services. This information should not be used as a substitute for consultation with a professional accounting, tax, or legal advisor. MIT recommends that students consult a tax advisor for individual tax advice.