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To: Campus Unit Finance Leads, University Business Managers, HR Officers and Secondary Contacts
From: Walter Miller, Director of Payroll Services

Payroll Services is pleased to announce the implementation of Sprintax Calculus, a cloud-based software used to determine tax requirements for foreign persons paid on payroll. This product has a self-service interface which will allow for more streamlined processes of document and information exchange between Payroll Services and foreign national employees.

Over the coming weeks, the Payroll Services team will be emailing foreign nationals already on file to request they set up their Sprintax account and update the information on their profile. The emails generated from Sprintax will come from and additional follow-up emails may come from or a Payroll Tax Team member (Andrea Cox or Stephanie May).

Also, please be aware that all new hires who are foreign nationals will need to log in and complete a Sprintax profile before Payroll can approve their hire ePar. Timely responses from your employees will assist in timely payment.

Continue reading below for more information related to this change of software and process.

Is this a new requirement?
No. Payroll Services has required additional documentation from foreign employees for many years to be able to accurately determine payroll tax withholding requirements for each individual.
What exactly has changed?
Payroll previously used International Tax Navigator, a product by Thomson Reuters, for foreign national tax compliance management. As our contract was defined, self-service functionality was not included. Therefore, Payroll collected intake information from each individual via the PR-100 form and copies of documents such as visa, passport, I-94, and respective immigration documents such as I-20 or DS-2019. This collection of documents was most often done via email.

Sprintax provides a self-service option where the individual can complete their profile (which does away with the PR-100 intake form) and directly upload copies of their documents into Sprintax. This reduces the effort of the same profile information being input twice (once on the PR-100 form by the employee and again by Payroll into a tax software system), and it also saves HR and department representatives the effort of emailing employees to gather the documents to send to Payroll.

Why does this requirement only apply to foreign employees?
The IRS guidelines for payments to foreign nationals are highly complex and nuanced. In order for an employer to determine what taxes should be withheld, or not withheld, and at what amounts, a foreign national tax analysis must be performed. This analysis reviews information such as a person’s visa type, history of presence in the U.S., country of residence, and other factors. Sprintax houses and keeps up to date with latest regulations and uses that information to accurately analyze each individual’s tax situation. This tax analysis then provides employers / UNC Payroll Services concise direction for how to withhold upon and report wages paid to each individual.
What, in the end, does Sprintax tell Payroll about a person’s tax profile?
Once a person’s profile is complete in Sprintax, Payroll reviews the Sprintax analysis details so they can properly set up their payroll tax profile. This includes:

  • Whether the person is subject to or exempt from FICA taxes
  • What the person’s tax status is, which then defines how withholding taxes should be applied
  • Whether the individual qualifies for tax reduction benefits via a tax treaty between the U.S. and their country of residence
  • Whether wages earned should be reported at year-end on a W-2 or 1042-S, or possibly both forms
What else is good to know about Sprintax?
  • Foreign national employees will now have the option to consent to a paperless 1042-S form.
  • Tax treaties and other tax forms can be electronically signed within Sprintax, which saves time and effort previously spent on exchange and upload of these documents.
  • By having self-service functionality, individuals can directly update their Sprintax profile to provide Payroll with pertinent updates.
  • Foreign employees should keep their profile up to date with any changes. If anything changes about their situation, such as extending their documents / visit to the U.S., attaining a Social Security number, applying for a green card, or change of visa type, just to name a few examples, the employee should log into Sprintax to denote these changes and upload associated documents where needed. Failure to make timely updates can result in incorrect tax withholdings, which can result in problems when they file their tax returns for the year.
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