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[ Disbursements - Accounts Payable ]

Honoraria Payments

A gratuitous payment of money or other thing of value to a person for the person’s participation in a usual academic activity for which no fee is legally required. An honorarium is provided as a token of appreciation for participation in an activity or event, and not as a contractual obligation to pay for services rendered.

Usual Academic Activity” means activity conducted for the benefit of the honorarium-paying institution and includes lecturing, teaching, consulting, conducting research, attending meetings, symposia or seminars, or otherwise sharing knowledge. Readings and performances are included academic activities, so long as the activity is open without charge to the public and/or students.

Honoraria Payments to U.S. Citizens or U.S. Resident Aliens

  • W9 is required
  • Flyer or Memo that doucments the person's participation in the activity or event

Honoraria Payments to a Foreign National

May be paid honoraria IF

  • The activity lasts no more than 9 days. The Non Resident may be at the institution longer than 9 days, however the number-of-days limitation applies only to “the event”, and
  • The services conducted are of direct benefit to the University, and
  • The visitor has not accepted payments from more than 5 institutions in the previous 6 months
Visa Type Description Honorarium Travel Reimbursements
B-1/VWB Visitor for Business Yes Yes
B-2/VWT Visitor for Tourism Yes *Yes
J-1 Exchange Visitor **Yes **Yes

*B-2s are not eligible for expense payments or reimbursements EXCEPT as incidental to honorarium activities. If a B-2 with no honorarium-covered purpose, travel expenses are not permitted.

If a B- 2 with an honorarium-covered purpose, travel to and from is permitted, B-1s may always accept payments for expenses, whether in the context of honoraria or not.

** In order to pay a J-1 visitor sponsored by another University, you must obtain written permission from that school’s “responsible officer”.

University of Pennsylvania Requirements

The following documents must be submitted to the Corporate Tax Office to authorize an Honoraria payment to a foreign national:

  1. Foreign Visitors Honoraria Eligibility Certification Form
  2. Foreign National Information Form (FNIF)
  3. Copy of I-94 & VISA (or I-94W if from a visa waiver country) & Passport
  4. If J-1 - authorization letter from sponsoring institution
  5. If J-1 - copy of Form DS-2019 (Certificate of Eligibility for Exchange Visitor (J-1) Status)
  6. Copy of Social Security card or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). Under the Social Security Administration regulations governing social security numbers (SSNs), only individuals authorized to work in the United States under the immigration laws are authorized to obtain a SSN. Individuals in B status are not authorized to work and, therefore, cannot obtain a SSN, and must obtain an ITIN.

Please note that it is the department’s responsibility to obtain a Social Security number or ITIN from the individual -without a U.S. taxpayer ID number the University could possibly be charged a $50 fee by the IRS for reporting income on a 1042-S without a Taxpayer Identification Number.

IRS Rules

  1. All payments of honoraria to non-resident aliens who come to the University must be reported to the IRS on Form 1042-S.
  2. All honoraria payments to foreign nationals will be taxed at a 30% rate, unless exempted by a tax treaty. If the visitor does not provide a Social Security Number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, treaty benefits cannot be applied.

**If an individual is eligible for a Tax Treaty the Payroll Tax Office will produce the document and will contact the Department requesting the appropriate signatures **

SPECIAL NOTE FOR VISITORS ON TN, H-1B or O VISAS: Visitors on TN, H-1B or O visas not sponsored by Penn mayNOT receive honoraria or service payments (including employee compensation).

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