Frequently asked questions

Questions frequently asked on income taxes in the United Nations


  1. What is the main purpose of the United Nations tax reimbursement system?

The United States does not exempt the United Nations earnings of its taxpayers from taxes. The purpose of the reimbursement system is to place United Nations staff members subject to taxation in the position in which they would have been if their official emoluments were not taxed. Hence, it is intended neither to provide a benefit, nor to place the staff member at a disadvantage, in relation to other United Nations staff members who are not required to pay taxes to a Member State on their United Nations emoluments (see paras. 3 and 4).


  1. What is staff assessment, and how is it related to income taxes?

Staff assessment is not a withholding tax. It is an amount deducted from all United Nations staff members’ gross salary according to the United Nations Staff Regulations and Rules, regardless of their nationality. As staff assessment is not a withholding tax, it cannot be reimbursed to staff members under any circumstances, and it cannot be claimed as a deduction on United States income tax returns.

Staff assessment deductions are credited to the Tax Equalization Fund. Those Member States that do not impose income tax on United Nations earnings receive a portion of the Tax Equalization Fund as an offset against their assessments for the United Nations regular budget, peacekeeping, and tribunal budgets. When staff members have to pay national income taxes on their United Nations earnings, they are reimbursed from the Tax Equalization Fund irrespective of the total amount of staff assessment deducted from their salaries. In summary the staff assessment is a mechanism introduced by the general assembly to manage taxes, it is not staff member’s emoluments/earnings, under no circumstances staff member can claim this money. Money of the staff assessment comes from the member states and goes back to member states.


  1. Who is subject to United States income taxation on United Nations earnings?

United States citizens and permanent residents who have signed the “Waiver of rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities” (the waiver) are subject to United States income tax on their United Nations earnings (see sect. I, para. 1). In addition, United States citizens serving in the United States are also subject to self-employment tax on their United Nations earnings. The United Nations reimburses those staff members who have to pay the United States income taxes due on their United Nations earnings as well as 6.2 per cent out of a total 12.4 per cent of the Social Security tax portion and 1.45 per cent out of a total 2.9 per cent of the Medicare tax portion of the related self-employment taxes payable by United States citizens.


  1. Who has to pay self-employment tax, and what is a staff member’s share?

According to United States law, it is mandatory that all United States citizens serving in the United States pay self-employment tax on their United Nations earnings. United States citizens serving abroad who spend time on official duty in the United States are also subject to self-employment tax on the earnings for the period worked in the United States. For 2023, the Social Security tax rate is 12.4 per cent of the Social Security wage base plus a Medicare tax rate of 2.9 per cent on all wages. The staff member will pay 6.2 per cent for Social Security tax and 1.45 per cent for Medicare tax. The Social Security wage base was $160,200 for 2023 and increased to $168,600 in 2024.

There is an additional Medicare tax of 0.9 per cent for employees with earnings over $250,000 for a married individual filing a joint return, $125,000 for a married individual filing a separate return, and $200,000 for all others. The United Nations will normally reimburse one half of the self-employment tax due on United Nations taxable earnings as calculated on IRS schedule SE; a United States taxpaying staff member must pay the other half. Additional Medicare tax (0.9 per cent), if applicable, is fully payable by the staff member.


  1. How does a staff member request (a) income tax advances and/or (b) income tax reimbursement from the United Nations?

                           (a)To request income tax advances, a staff member subject to income taxation should complete United Nations form F.65 and submit it, together with a copy of his/her personnel action form, to the Income Tax Unit (see paras. 5 (b)–7). United States permanent residents should also provide the personnel action form reflecting the date when they signed the waiver.

                           (b)To request tax reimbursement, a staff member must submit a photocopy of his/her complete set of income tax returns together with properly completed forms F.65, F.65/A (if applicable) and IRS Form 4506-C, signed and dated, to the Income Tax Unit. Staff members who have received tax advances must submit annual requests for tax reimbursement within the deadline for submission.


  1. What are the deadlines for submitting requests for income tax reimbursements to the United Nations and filing with United States tax authorities?

The deadlines for the submission of requests for 2023 income tax reimbursement to the United Nations are 1 March 2024 for staff serving in the United States and 1 April 2024 for staff serving elsewhere. The Income Tax Unit must receive the requests by these deadlines to allow adequate time for processing and reimbursement before the actual filing deadline with the tax authorities. The deadlines for filing 2023 income tax returns with the tax authorities are 15 April 2024 for taxpayers in the United States and 17 June 2024 for overseas taxpayers. Requests for income tax reimbursement submitted after the submission deadlines are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. It should be noted that there is a one-year limitation on filing a claim for tax reimbursement (see para. 19).


  1. How does the United Nations calculate income tax reimbursements due to staff members?

Income tax reimbursements are made for the tax attributable to United Nations salary and emoluments. This tax is considered to be the difference between (a) the actual total tax payable for the year as shown in the copies of the tax return with the United Nations income (as shown on his/her statement of taxable earnings) included; and (b) the tax that would be payable if United Nations income were excluded from total income. Both calculations use the actual income, loss, adjustments to income, total deductions and exemptions claimed by the staff member on his/her tax returns to arrive at the taxable income. The actual total tax payable in (a) in the prior sentence is calculated by using the actual income, loss, adjustments to income, total deductions and exemptions claimed by the staff member on his/her tax returns. The tax that is payable if United Nations income is excluded in (b) in the prior sentence is calculated by using the deductions and exemptions claimed by the staff member on his/her actual tax returns (see para. 27). To illustrate the United Nations income tax reimbursement, assume that a staff member and his/her spouse working outside the United Nations who filed as married filing jointly for 2023 had the following federal taxable income and were not subject to self-employment tax (amounts in United States dollars):

Note: Limitations of itemized deductions that may result from inclusion of United Nations earnings are not claimable. Premium, additional child and other tax credits (reported on schedule 3) for which a staff member may be eligible based on non‑United Nations earnings alone, but for which a staff member is not eligible based on actual total income, including United Nations earnings, are also not claimable.



      (i)  Actual total tax payable on return (married filing jointly)



            United Nations earnings



            Non-United Nations ordinary income



            Less: Standard deductions                                   



          Taxable income                                                   




              Federal tax                                                      






     (ii)  Tax payable without United Nations income



            Non-United Nations ordinary income



            Less: Deductions                                               



          Taxable income                                                  



              Federal tax                                                    






      United Nations federal income tax reimbursement      =










  1. What are estimated tax payments for?

The United Nations does not have a tax withholding system. Staff members who are liable to pay federal, state, or municipal income taxes for 2024 are required to file, by 15 April 2024, a declaration of estimated tax on their estimated 2024 income, including salary and emoluments to be received from the United Nations. In order to avoid the penalty for underpayment of estimated taxes for 2024, staff members, in most circumstances, will be required to pay in four equal instalments as estimates of their 2024 federal tax the lesser of: (a) 100 per cent of their actual 2023 tax liability (including the self-employment tax); or (b) 90 per cent of their estimated 2024 tax liability (including the self-employment tax), due on 15 April 2024, 17 June 2024, 16 September 2024 and 15 January 2025.

Federal and New York state tax advances are paid directly to the IRS and New York State by the United Nations for crediting to the taxpayer’s individual account as estimated tax payments. In exceptional cases where electronic payments are not possible, tax advance cheques payable to the tax authorities may be issued.

Advances for Washington D.C., Virginia or Maryland state estimated taxes will be made by Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) or cheque payable to staff members, who should deposit the cheques into their personal bank accounts and issue their own cheques to pay for the estimated tax.

It is the responsibility of staff members to include on their estimated tax forms their share of self-employment tax, if applicable, and estimates of additional taxable income from sources other than the United Nations and to pay the estimated tax due thereon.

Note: High-income group taxpayers may be required to pay Net Investment Income Tax. This tax is the staff member’s responsibility (for details please visit the IRS website or consult with a tax accountant).


  1. What should a staff member do with United Nations tax cheques payable to the tax authorities?

A staff member should forward any United Nations tax cheques made payable to the respective tax authorities to the appropriate addresses of the tax authorities. A staff member should not, under any circumstances, cash or deposit any United Nations tax cheques payable to the tax authority into his/her bank account.


  1. What happens if the staff member pays the balance due before receiving United Nations tax settlement cheques?

If a staff member pays the balance due before receiving United Nations tax cheques, he/she should return to the Income Tax Unit the United Nations cheques payable to the tax authorities, together with proof that he/she paid the tax authorities (such as copies of his/her cancelled personal cheques). The Tax Unit will then reissue the United Nations tax cheques to his/her name.


  1. Who gets the tax refund that a staff member receives from the tax authorities?

Entitlement to tax refunds is dependent upon who overpays the tax authorities. A staff member may retain the tax refund that he/she receives from the tax authorities if he/she has more withholding tax on his/her non-United Nations income than his/her tax liabilities or if he/she overpays the tax authorities on the non-United Nations earnings. If the United Nations overpays the estimated income tax advances related to a staff member, the overpayment amount will be indicated on a transmittal statement to the staff member after the staff member’s income tax reimbursement claim is settled. The United Nations treats these overpayments as prepayments of tax advances for the subsequent year. Staff members who continue to be subject to United States income taxes on the United Nations earnings should indicate on their tax returns that tax overpayment should be applied to the following year’s estimated taxes. Separated staff members should return the United Nations portion of tax refunds to the Organization.


  1. Who pays the penalties and interest imposed by tax authorities?

As the responsibility for filing complete, correct and timely tax returns is that of the individual taxpayer, the United Nations will not reimburse staff members for penalties and/or interest imposed by tax authorities on their United Nations earnings except if: (a) the delays are attributable to the Organization; or (b) penalties or interest are the result of written instructions given by the United Nations. Under certain conditions, staff members serving outside the United States may also be reimbursed for penalties and interest (see para. 67). The United Nations will not pay any late filing penalties under any circumstances. Staff members are, therefore, advised to file the appropriate extension forms with tax authorities before the deadline for filing.


  1. What action is taken by the United Nations Income Tax Unit if a staff member makes an error in his/her tax returns?

If the Income Tax Unit, in the course of processing a staff member’s request for reimbursements, determines that there is an error, it will issue to the staff member a written notice of corrections to be made to the tax return(s) by the staff member. Staff members are required to acknowledge and certify that they have made the appropriate changes on their tax returns submitted to the tax authorities, and to return the certified correction notification, together with a copy of the corrected tax forms, to the Income Tax Unit. Staff members should not, however, rely on the Income Tax Unit to detect errors. They remain fully responsible for filing correct returns with the tax authorities.

It should be noted that by completing IRS Form 4506-C (Consent for the Internal Revenue Service to disclose tax return information to the United Nations), a staff member authorizes the IRS to disclose to the United Nations tax information and estimated tax payments regarding his/her federal income tax account(s) for the particular tax years if and when the United Nations requests this information. The tax information is used only to ascertain that the staff member who submits photocopies of his/her income tax returns to the Income Tax Unit also files the same income tax returns with the IRS. It does not imply that the staff member’s federal income tax returns are completely correct and accepted by the IRS. Nor does it imply that the United Nations is obligated to verify the validity of each claim submitted to the Income Tax Unit with the tax authorities.


  1. Under what circumstances can a married staff member file separately?

Generally, if a married staff member is not receiving dependency benefits for his/her spouse, he or she can elect to file separately. If the staff member uses itemized deductions that are less than the standard deduction, the United Nations will calculate the reimbursement using the standard deduction. If a staff member files separately while receiving dependency benefits for his/her spouse, the United Nations reimbursement of income taxes will be calculated as if he/she is filing a joint return with the spouse (see para. 12).


  1. Does a staff member have to claim dependants for whom he or she receives dependency benefits from the United Nations?

There is no personal exemption currently in effect for federal income taxes. However, there are federal dependant credits, which lower the tax liability, and the dependant exemption is still available for most states. Staff members are therefore required to claim all dependants.


  1. Should a staff member submit a copy of his/her income tax return to the United Nations Income Tax Unit if he or she is stationed abroad and does not have any federal tax due in respect of United Nations earnings?

It is advisable for the staff member to submit a photocopy of his/her income tax return to the Income Tax Unit, even if he/she fully qualifies under the foreign earned income exclusion (FEIE) and may not have any tax liabilities. It provides a continuous record for his/her tax file, and, in instances of subsequent amendments, he/she can submit an amended return to the Income Tax Unit for reimbursement.


  1. How does one enrol with EFTPS? What information needs to be communicated to the Income Tax Unit?

Forms and instructions for enrolling with EFTPS are available online at A copy of the EFTPS Enrolment Status letter that contains the PIN must be provided to the Income Tax Unit (PIN should be blacked out).


  1. Can the Income Tax Unit prepare my tax return or provide tax/financial advice?

Staff members of the Income Tax Unit are not permitted to provide tax advice to staff members or to assist in the preparation of tax returns. As the individual taxpayer remains fully responsible for filing correct returns with the tax authorities, he/she should not rely on the Income Tax Unit to detect errors. The United Nations cannot (a) provide advice or assistance to staff members on tax matters other than in relation to the treatment of taxable United Nations earnings included in the statement of taxable earnings; or (b) contact tax authorities on a staff member’s behalf.


  1. May I receive a copy of my tax return?

Regrettably, the Income Tax Unit is unable to provide a copy of either the tax claim or the correspondence with the tax authorities that has been submitted by the taxpayer. In this regard, it is expected that staff members will retain a copy of their tax returns, all correspondence with the tax authorities and the corresponding financial documents and records.


  1. Do all staff members paying United States income tax receive estimated tax advances?

No estimated tax advances will be issued to staff members who are working under an initial appointment contract with the United Nations of less than six months’ duration or under a WAE (when actually employed) contract. The United Nations will reimburse any penalty incurred by staff members related to underpayment of estimated taxes on such United Nations income.


  1. I have refugee/political asylum status and a valid work permit but am not a permanent resident of the United States or a United States citizen. Should I pay tax on United Nations emoluments?

No. United Nations staff members who have employment authorization in the United States (a work permit) and who have refugee/political asylum status are exempt from income taxation by the United States on their United Nations earnings, as long as they have not been granted permanent residency status in the United States (alien registration card) and signed the waiver of rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities under the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations.


  1. How secure is my income tax claim submission to the United Nations Income Tax Unit?

The Income Tax Unit has set up a website named the ‘Tax portal’ for the secure submission and transmission of staff members’ tax documents. With support from the Office of Information and Communications Technology, the tax portal undergoes rigorous security assessments to ensure secure storage and retention of all the tax documents. Only authorized personnel have access to using the tax portal. Moreover, the submitted documents can only be accessed by limited authorized personnel within the unit.

In addition, The Income Tax Unit has also set up a dedicated secure email address for the submission of 2023 income tax claims only. This option will only be availed to staff members who experience unresolvable issues with accessing the tax portal. In case, you have issues accessing the tax portal, please write to and you will be advised accordingly.


  1. How will a staff member know when his/her claim has been received?

The staff member will receive an automatic email response following submission of the tax claim. Subsequent emails will be sent when the tax claim is logged, approved or rejected in the income tax system. Staff members who manually enter data into the data forms on the portal will also have an option to view the status of their submission on the tax portal home page.        


Click here to for to read questions asked during the 2024 Income Tax Briefing