Payroll Taxes

**Memorandum on Payroll Tax Deferral September 2020 - December 2020**

On August 8, 2020, a Presidential Memorandum was issued allowing U.S. employers the option to defer withholding and payment of an employee’s portion of the Social Security tax for employee’s with wages below $104,000 per year.  This tax deferral option is effective for the period September 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020, but would have to be withheld from employees’ wages and paid by May 1, 2021 to avoid penalties and interest. We believe that deferring taxes now to be collected early next year does not provide a meaningful benefit to our employees.  Therefore, the University has decided not to participate in this program.  


Based on your marital status and the number of exemptions you elected on your W-4 form, the University withholds federal and state taxes from your paycheck. In most cases, the University also is required to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA).

Disclaimer: Feel free to contact the Payroll Services Team at with questions related to your paycheck, or visit our website for assistance with more general inquiries. However, please note, our team cannot offer assistance or advice related to your personal taxes, or assist with determining how much withholding to elect on the IRS W4 Form. For assistance with completing the W4, please view the IRS Tax Withholding Estimator. For personal income tax questions, seek professional tax guidance. 

For inquiries sent to, please allow 5 to 7 business days for a response.

State Taxes

If you work for the University in one state and live in another state, you may not be subject to the income taxes in the state where you work but will owe state income taxes in the state where you reside.

Special Tax Arrangements

Pennsylvania Residents Who Work in New Jersey To avoid having New Jersey state income tax withheld, fill out a Certificate of Non-Residence in New Jersey and send it to Payroll by email, fax, or mail. Pennsylvania taxes will be withheld.
Maryland and Virginia Residents Who Work in the District of Columbia To avoid having DC income tax withheld, fill out a Certificate of Non-Residence in the District of Columbia and send it to Payroll by email, fax, or mail. Maryland or Virginia state income taxes will be withheld.

New Jersey Family Leave Insurance - Change for 2020

As of January 1, 2020, employees contribute 0.16% of the first $134,900 earned during the calendar year. This is an increase from 0.08% of the first $34,400 earned during calendar year 2019. For more information, see the Division of Temporary Disability and Family Leave Insurance website for the State of New Jersey.

Change Your State Income Tax Withholding

The HR Self Service system and TigerHub are set so that your state withholding elections default to the same as your federal withholding elections. You can change them by submitting a state withholding form, W-4 form, to Payroll by mail, fax, or email.

States in Which Princeton University is an Employer

The list below includes the states in which Princeton University is registered as an employer. Your paycheck will reflect state income tax and unemployment / disability tax withholding for the state in which you work.

District of Columbia


New Jersey
New York

Student and Foreign National Employees

Exemptions from Social Security and Medicare Withholding

Students and foreign national employees are, in most cases, exempt from Medicare and Social Security (FICA) withholding.

Student Employees If you are a student actively enrolled in a degree program at the University, then your pay is exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes for work performed during the academic year. However, if you work for the University during the eight-week summer break, then these taxes will be withheld from your paycheck and reported to the IRS on form W-2.
Foreign National Employees If you are a foreign national on an F-1 or J-1 visa, then you are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes throughout the year.

Report Taxable Fellowship Payments: Graduate Students who are U.S. Citizens and Foreign Nationals

The University is not required to report scholarship or fellowship income to the IRS. It is important to keep records and save the information you will need in order to prepare your personal tax return. Consult your personal tax adviser to discuss making estimated tax payments for the taxable portion of your fellowship income. When preparing your personal income tax return, you may need your final pay statement for the year in addition to your W-2 form. More information may be found in our guide to reporting taxable fellowship payments.