Using GLACIER for Non-Resident Alien Tax Compliance

Using GLACIER for Non-Resident Alien Tax Compliance

A foreign national is an individual who is not a citizen of the USA. For federal income tax purposes, foreign nationals are classified by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as either resident or nonresident aliens.

Foreign nationals receiving payments from the University are required to have a GLACIER record. GLACIER is a secure online Nonresident Alien (NRA) tax compliance system that foreign individuals use to provide their immigrant and tax data to UCSF. GLACIER helps determine tax residency, withholding rates, and federal income tax treaty eligibility. GLACIER also manages NRA paperwork, maintains NRA data, and prepares tax forms and required statements.

Under U.S. tax laws, all withholding agents must withhold income tax from all income payments made to or on behalf of a nonresident alien. If the withholding agent does not withhold appropriate amount of tax at the time of payment, the withholding agent will be liable for the tax, plus any penalties and interest, regardless of whether the individual pays the tax on his or her tax return. GLACIER helps foreign individuals and UCSF collect, store, and print forms required by law.

An inbound interface from the UCSF version of GLACIER to UCPath will be used to update an employee’s tax record. The inbound interface will carry the appropriate information necessary to insure compliance with IRS tax regulations including income tax treaty exemption. The Nonresident Alien Pay Processing process begins when a foreign national is identified during the I-9 process and ends when an NRA’s status is correctly reflected in UCPath and the individual is appropriately paid and taxed.

If an employee checks box 4 "An alien authorized to work (Alien # or Admission #) " of Section 1 of the I-9 Form, a GLACIER record is required and the employee should be notified that he/she will be contacted to provide data in GLACIER. The I-9 Administrator should notify the Payroll Office that a GLACIER record is required by completing the GLACIER Setup Form.

GLACIER record required GLACIER record NOT required

Visitors with A, E, F, H, J, K, L, O, P, TN or V visas

US Citizen or National

Pending US Permanent Residents

US Permanent Resident

Pending Refugee or Asylum status

Refugee or Asylum status


A Nonresident alien working outside the USA (Foreign Source)

Certain visa types do not require GLACIER records (DACA, Refugee, Asylee) and will require a manual update in UCPath. Human Resources should submit a case inquiry to the UCPath Center or email the Work Authorization mailbox to ensure employees under these visas are updated correctly.

Once the individual’s access request has been processed, they will receive an e-mail from [email protected] with their GLACIER login information. Within 10 days of receiving this GLACIER login message, the individual must complete GLACIER record and then submit required documents to the Payroll Office (follow mailing instructions on page 2 of the GLACIER Tax Summary Report). Failure to do so may result in the maximum rate of tax withholding and/or delayed payment.

Immigration Status Change

In a case where a foreign national changes one immigration status to another (e.g. J, H, F → PR, F → J/H, or JàH), the following steps should be completed for update.

  • Human Resources informs a foreign national to update their GLACIER record with the new immigration status.
  • The foreign national submits GLACIER tax documents to the Payroll Office after updating new immigration status in GLACIER system.
  • The Payroll Office reviews GLACIER tax documents submitted by the foreign national and sets the GLACIER record to complete which triggers the update of their immigration status in UCPath.

Form 1042-S

Form 1042-S is similar in purpose to Form W2 for reporting certain payments made to Nonresident Aliens. The amounts reported in Form 1042-S may include salaries or wages exempt under a tax treaty, fellowship or scholarship payments, honorarium payments (guest speakers), royalty payments or non-employee prize or award payments.

Not every foreign national employees, students or scholars will receive Form 1042-S. Depending on the individual’s payments received in a tax year, he/she may receive a 1042-S only, a W-2 only or both a 1042-S and a W-2. There is no overlap for amounts reported on Form 1042-S and amounts reported on Form W-2; therefore, if you receive both 1042-S and W-2, you must report amounts from both forms when completing US federal and state tax returns.

Form 1042-S can be downloaded from your GLACIER account if you have requested electronic 1042-S. For those of you who have requested non-electronic version, Form 1042-S will be mailed to you. Please contact the Controller's Office Solution Center for any 1042-S questions.


Filing U.S. annual income tax return is one of the requirements that foreign national employees, students or scholars must fulfill to comply with U.S. laws. The International Students & Scholars Office (ISSO) has purchased a license agreement for the GLACIER Tax Prep (GTP) software to assist you and your dependents prepare nonresident alien U.S. federal income tax return. GTP is the tax software dedicated to Nonresident Alien Federal Income Tax Return preparation. The GTP will not be available for individuals who are resident alien for tax purposes.

GLACIER and GTP are not the same. GLACIER is Nonresident Alien Tax Compliance System that foreign visitors use to provide their immigrant and tax data to UCSF. GTP is a tax software that nonresident aliens use to prepare U.S. Nonresident Alien Federal Income Tax Return. However, you may get into GTP from your GLACIER account.

There are two ways you can get into GTP.

  1. Option 1 – GTP via GLACIER portal – You must have GLACIER account. After logged into your GLACIER account, from the user menu, select “I am ready to complete my tax return via GLACIER Tax Prep”. After you verify all information is correct or you update any incorrect information, GLACIER will bring you to GTP and you will see the “Welcome to GLACIER Tax Prep” screen. This section “I am ready to complete my tax return via GLACIER Tax Prep” will not be available to individuals who are resident aliens for tax purposes.
  2. Option 2 – GTP portal with an access code – This option is for nonresident alien individuals who have never used GLACIER. You must have a GTP account and must use an access code to get into GTP. Please contact ISSO for the access code.