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[ Payroll ]

Guide to Post-Doctoral Appointments

Due to a review associated with the University of Pennsylvania's postdoctoral appointments, we have revised procedures regarding the withholding of taxes on stipends in order to ensure compliance with Federal, Pennsylvania and Philadelphia taxing authorities. Based on the facts and circumstances of the postdoctoral appointments as outlined in the University's Policy for Postdoctoral Fellows at the University of Pennsylvania, stipends provided to all recipients are considered non-compensatory and therefore not “wages” for Federal income or FICA tax withholding purposes.

However, postdoctoral stipends are taxable for Pennsylvania personal income tax and subject to withholding because such payments do not meet all of the fifteen conditions specified by the Pennsylvania Code for exclusion. The stipends are also taxable for PA State Unemployment tax. The current rates for PA state income tax and state unemployment tax can be found on the Tax & International Operations Website at: http://www.finance.edu/comptroller/payroll/taxinfo/index.shtml

In addition, the stipends are subject to City of Philadelphia wage taxes and withholding. The Philadelphia Income Tax Regulations do not provide any specific exclusion from gross income for stipends or similar payments to graduate students. The current Philadelphia tax rates can be found on the Tax &International Operations Website at: http://www.finance.upenn.edu/comptroller/payroll/taxinfo/index.shtml.

Although no reporting or withholding is required for U.S. postdoctoral appointments, the individual must report and pay federal income tax on any payments in excess of tuition, fees, books, and certain other expenses. For additional information regarding an individual's responsibility for reporting such payments, please consult IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education. Further, there are special rules for nonresident aliens. For more information on tax treatment for nonresident aliens, please consult the IRS Publication 519: U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens. The attached chart has been provided to assist you in understanding the impact of the changes to be made to tax withholding procedures beginning with payments made January 1, 2011 forward.

Post-Doctoral Appointments

Post-Doctoral Researcher - A Post-Doctoral Researcher is an individual who comes to the University for the principal purpose of furthering his/her personal development by engaging in research programs. A post-doctoral researcher holds a post-baccalaureate degree, normally the highest degree earned in the field. The normal source of funding is a research grant. The Post-Doctoral Researcher's stipend is subject to State, Local and State UC taxes. No EB rate will be charged for this position.

The following information should be entered into the Personnel/Payroll System for Post-Doctoral Researchers:

Job Class U.S. Earnings Type (1) Nonresident alien Earnings Type Object Code/Sub Code
217500 PD4 For Tax Office use only! 5042/1524


Post-Doctoral FellowPost-Doctoral Fellow - A Post-Doctoral Fellow is an individual who comes to the University for the principal purpose of furthering his/her personal development through participation in advanced training programs. The post-doctoral fellow holds a post-baccalaureate degree, normally the highest degree earned in the field. Funding is provided by a private foundation or non-profit charitable organization such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and similar type organizations. A Post-Doctoral Fellow’s stipend may not be supplemented by funding from a research grant. A Post-Doctoral Fellow’s stipend is subject to State, Local and State UC taxes. No EB rate will be charged for this position. - A Post-Doctoral Fellow is an individual who comes to the University for the principal purpose of furthering his/her personal development through participation in advanced training programs. The post-doctoral fellow holds a post-baccalaureate degree, normally the highest degree earned in the field. Funding is provided by a private foundation or non-profit charitable organization such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and similar type organizations. A Post-Doctoral Fellow’s stipend may not be supplemented by funding from a research grant. A Post-Doctoral Fellow’s stipend is subject to State, Local and State UC taxes. No EB rate will be charged for this position.

The following information should be entered into the Personnel/Payroll System for Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Job Class U.S. Earnings Type Nonresident alien Earnings Type Object Code/Sub Code
217603 PD3 For Tax Office use only! 5043/1524


N.R.S.A. Post-Doctoral Fellow - N.R.S.A. Post-Doctoral Fellows are individuals who come to the University for the principal purpose of furthering their personal development through participation in advanced training programs. They hold post-baccalaureate degrees, normally the highest degree earned in the field. The source of funding is an individual or institutional National Research Service Award from the federal government to support the individual’s training. An N.R.S.A. Post-Doctoral Fellow’s stipend is subject to State, Local and State UC taxes. No EB rate will be charged for this position.

The following information should be entered into the Personnel/Payroll System for N.R.S.A. Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Job Class U.S. Earnings Type Nonresident alien Earnings Type Object Code/Sub Code
217703 PD3 For Tax Office use only! 5043/1524


Employment Based Visas (H1, O1, E3, or TN)

Post Docs with a visa type of H1, O1, E3 or TN are considered to be in the United States for employment purposes, therefore we are required to withhold all applicable taxes. These payments will have Federal/State/Unemployment/FICA withheld. In addition there will be a part time EB rate charged. Note that this job class and object code can be used with any funding source: research grants, non-federal training grants and non-grants are all allowed.

(Note that Federal training grants are not appropriate, given the federal rules).

The following information should be entered into the Personnel/Payroll System for Employment-based visa Post-Doctoral Fellows:

Job Class U.S. Earnings Type Nonresident alien Earnings Type Object Code/Sub Code
217503 RMO For Tax Office use only! 5047/1523

Business administrators should exercise care in assigning post-doctoral candidates to these categories. Any questions concerning the taxability of an award should be directed to The Corporate Tax Office (extension 8-6573 or 8-7792). Questions concerning the guidelines of governmental or private agency post-doctoral awards should be directed to the Office of Research Administration (extension 8-7293). Failure to follow these guidelines could result in the University’s facing an unwarranted tax liability for which the school or department shall be held responsible.



Due to the complexity of U.S. tax laws concerning Nonresident Aliens, the earnings type must be entered by tax office personnel.
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