Ohio University


Honorarium Agreement


An honorarium is an ex-gratia payment made to a person for their services in a volunteer capacity or for services where fees are not traditionally required. The University follows IRS guidelines to determine when an individual is qualified to receive a payment as an honorarium. This method of payment is usually made to a guest speaker or lecturer as a gesture of good will and appreciation. An honorarium is not based on an agreed amount between the individual providing services and the individual seeking services. If payment is agreed upon or occurs routinely, this constitutes a contractual agreement and will involve invoicing, possible taxation, and related factors. In those situations, the Short Form Services Agreement should be used.

Pay should be recognized as a token of appreciation with a nominal value assigned to it. Possible categories include:

  • Guest lecturer
  • Appearance at an event by a recognized authority in a particular field
  • Guest speaker for a seminar or workshop
  • Panelist for a special project
  • Assistance for set-up or supporting activities at special events
  • Accreditation Program Reviewer
  • External Reviewer

An honorarium may not exceed $1,500, excluding costs for lodging or transportation. Honorariums must adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The honorarium is not a binding contract. There is no legal obligation for the recipient to fulfill the request. If the individual cancel or fails to appear, this is no recourse or threat of recourse against the individual. Since the IRS and Ohio Revised Code do not make exceptions for honoraria recipients, the OHIO Honorarium Agreement [PDF] serves the purpose of meeting both state and federal requirements.
  • The recipient is not an employee, does not have an existing consultant obligation to the University, and does not perform the service for a living.
  • An Honorarium, per IRS regulations, is reportable as income by the University. A 1099 (Miscellaneous Income) form will be issued by the University to individuals receiving payments of at least $600.00 per calendar year.
  • The payment of honorariums to nonresident aliens has specific restrictions and documentation requirements based on Visa type and tax treaty status with the honoree's resident country. The honorarium may also be subject to withholding. Contact the Tax Compliance (payrolltax@ohio.edu) office for further information.
  • If lodging and transportation costs are being reimbursed, the IRS requires original receipts for reimbursements to nonresident aliens.
  • The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) must process agreements involving expenditure of funds from sources overseen by ORSP (e.g., government grants).