Student wage tax reporting

Review the following tabs for payroll information related specifically to unique payment types and tax withholding on student wages.

Wages paid to a student employee through the payroll system are subject to federal income tax, state income tax and FICA. The withholding of federal and state taxes is dependent on the student's biweekly gross income and how the student files his or her W-4 and A-4 forms. A student may seek advice from the IRS regarding how to file his or her W-4 Form by calling toll-free at 1-800-829-1040. A student may seek advice from the Arizona Department of Revenue regarding how to file his or her A-4 Form by calling toll-free at 1-800-843-7196.

The number of credit hours a student is enrolled for at the end of the drop/add period determines if FICA tax is withheld. To be exempt from FICA tax, a student must be enrolled at least half time:

  • Spring or fall term: Undergraduate — six or more hours; Graduate — five or more hours; Graduate assistant — three or more hours.
  • Summer term: Undergraduate — two or more hours; Graduate — two or more hours; Graduate assistant — one or more hours.

Note. If the break between classes for graduate assistants is more than 5 weeks, the FICA exemption does not apply.

For enrollment verification purposes, graduate assistant is a generic term that includes graduate assistants, teaching assistants, research assistants, graduate associates, teaching associates and research associates.

F1 and J1 Status Nonresident Alien Students

The only exception is for non-resident alien students admitted to the United States in an F1 or J1 status. Student employees in this category remain exempt from FICA tax regardless of hours until they pass the substantial presence test; being present in the United States during more than four calendar years.

To request a refund of FICA taxes withheld, email the HR Employee Service Center.