If you are an international employee or student (foreign national) working at MIT, these tips will help you understand why taxes will be—or won’t be—deducted from your pay.

Determine if you must pay taxes

U.S. federal and state taxes may be deducted from your salary, stipend, or fellowship compensation. Your visa classification and the amount of time you have been in the United States determine your tax status and your tax status determines the amount of taxes withheld from your pay.

Income taxes usually amount to about 14 percent of total income but may be as high as 30 percent. If you are an H-1B, TN, or J-2 visa holder, Social Security tax of approximately 7.65 percent of your total income also will be withdrawn from your pay.

Learn more about taxes for international employees from the International Scholars Office (ISchO) and for international students from the International Students Office (ISO)

Review potential exemptions

MIT relies on the Glacier Tax Compliance System to help you, as a foreign national, determine your U.S. tax status (non-resident alien vs. resident alien) and whether you are tax exempt because of your home country’s tax treaty with the United States.

Please note that you will need to enter a Social Security number into the Glacier Tax Compliance System. If you don’t have a Social Security number, MIT employees and affiliates can reference the ISchO site and students the ISO site to learn more about applying for one.

In order to determine your tax status, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • “Tax Summary Report” and “Required Forms” (generated by Glacier)
  • Copies of your DS-2019 or I-20, I-94 and Visa Sticker/Stamp (in Passport)

Please sign and date required documents. Then, create a password protected PFD. The password should be 8 digits and should begin with your 4-digit birth year followed by the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.

Send the PDF file via email to nratax-payroll@mit.edu with subject line Payments from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by your full name and MIT ID number. 

Please email your PDFs on or before the 15th of the month if you are paid monthly. If you are paid weekly please email your PDFs on or before the first Monday following your arrival.

If your status switches from fellow to employee or vice versa, you must file a new tax treaty exemption claim. 

Get help filing your tax return

Legal restrictions prevent MIT staff members from advising you about tax liabilities or helping you to prepare your tax return.

While individual circumstances vary, follow guidelines in the Individual Income Taxation of Nonresident and Resident Aliens FAQ to learn what your specific tax filing responsibilities are for salaries and wages, royalties, and other forms of taxable income.

If your tax situation is complex you may want to seek the services of a professional tax preparer to file your tax returns. It is important to choose a preparer carefully as you will be responsible for your tax return even if someone else prepares it for you. See these Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer.

The International Scholars Office (ISchO) provides a list of local tax advisors who can assist you for a fee. Visit the ISchO tax information webpage for further details

The Details

Determine if you must pay taxes

U.S. federal and state taxes may be deducted from your salary, stipend, or fellowship compensation. Your visa classification and the amount of time you have been in the United States determine your tax status and your tax status determines the amount of taxes withheld from your pay.

Income taxes usually amount to about 14 percent of total income but may be as high as 30 percent. If you are an H-1B, TN, or J-2 visa holder, Social Security tax of approximately 7.65 percent of your total income also will be withdrawn from your pay.

Learn more about taxes for international employees from the International Scholars Office (ISchO) and for international students from the International Students Office (ISO)

Review potential exemptions

MIT relies on the Glacier Tax Compliance System to help you, as a foreign national, determine your U.S. tax status (non-resident alien vs. resident alien) and whether you are tax exempt because of your home country’s tax treaty with the United States.

Please note that you will need to enter a Social Security number into the Glacier Tax Compliance System. If you don’t have a Social Security number, MIT employees and affiliates can reference the ISchO site and students the ISO site to learn more about applying for one.

In order to determine your tax status, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • “Tax Summary Report” and “Required Forms” (generated by Glacier)
  • Copies of your DS-2019 or I-20, I-94 and Visa Sticker/Stamp (in Passport)

Please sign and date required documents. Then, create a password protected PFD. The password should be 8 digits and should begin with your 4-digit birth year followed by the last 4 digits of your Social Security number.

Send the PDF file via email to nratax-payroll@mit.edu with subject line Payments from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, followed by your full name and MIT ID number. 

Please email your PDFs on or before the 15th of the month if you are paid monthly. If you are paid weekly please email your PDFs on or before the first Monday following your arrival.

If your status switches from fellow to employee or vice versa, you must file a new tax treaty exemption claim. 

Get help filing your tax return

Legal restrictions prevent MIT staff members from advising you about tax liabilities or helping you to prepare your tax return.

While individual circumstances vary, follow guidelines in the Individual Income Taxation of Nonresident and Resident Aliens FAQ to learn what your specific tax filing responsibilities are for salaries and wages, royalties, and other forms of taxable income.

If your tax situation is complex you may want to seek the services of a professional tax preparer to file your tax returns. It is important to choose a preparer carefully as you will be responsible for your tax return even if someone else prepares it for you. See these Tips for Choosing a Tax Preparer.

The International Scholars Office (ISchO) provides a list of local tax advisors who can assist you for a fee. Visit the ISchO tax information webpage for further details

Did You Know?

You can customize your direct deposit preferences online to add an additional account.
Research and teaching assistant stipends are considered earned income and are subject to income tax withholding requirements.
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