Tax Laws | Resident & Non-Resident Aliens

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Social Security Tax Law as it Relates to Non-Resident and Resident Alien Individuals

Under special Social Security treaties (aka Totalization Agreements), the United States maintains agreements with 21 countries and grants particular benefits and privileges to “residents” of the treaty country provided that certain criteria are met.

These international Totalization Agreements can significantly benefit a non-U.S. individual if he/she has worked either as an employee, or was self-employed, in the United States for at least 1.5 years and less than 10 years in total.

Our tax practice also includes the preparation of U.S. and State tax returns on behalf of Individuals, Corporations, Partnerships, Limited Liability entities and Trusts. In addition to compliance, our tax practice specializes in complex planning ideas to minimize a taxpayer’s income tax and estate tax liability.

Totalization Agreements

The United States has entered into agreements, called Totalization Agreements, with several nations for the purpose of avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social security taxes. These agreements must be taken into account when determining whether any alien is subject to the United States Social Security/Medicare tax, or whether any U.S. citizen or resident alien is subject to the social security taxes of a foreign country. As of this time, the following nations have entered into Totalization Agreements with the United States:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Czech Republic
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Luxembourg
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

Copies of the Totalization Agreements may be obtained from David B. Goetz at Gonzalez & Goetz LLC or:

U.S. Social Security Administration
Office of International Programs
P.O. Box 17741
Baltimore, MD 21235-7775

If you live outside of the U.S. telephone inquiries to the U.S. Social Security Administration should be directed to the appropriate phone number at this location: International Operations-Contact Us by Phone.

If you wish to contact the Law Offices of Gonzalez & Goetz, please call 1-877-399-8020.

If you have questions about international Social Security agreements, and want to speak directly to the Social Security Administration, please call the Social Security Administration’s Office of International Programs at (410) 965-3322 or (410) 965-7306.

The Social Security Administration also publishes small brochures which concisely describe the terms of each totalization agreement. These brochures are available from many local Social Security offices, or may be ordered from the following toll-free number: 1-800-772-1213. In addition, the complete text of these brochures and of the totalization agreements themselves are available on the Social Security Administration’s Website.

Any alien who wishes to claim an exemption from U.S. Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes because of a totalization agreement must secure a Certificate of Coverage from the social security agency of his home country and present such Certificate of Coverage to his employer in the United States, according to the procedures set forth in Revenue Procedures 80-56, 84-54, and Revenue Ruling 92-9. An alternate procedure is provided in these revenue procedures for an alien who is unable to secure a Certificate of Coverage from his home country.

References/Related Topics

  • Social Security Tax / Medicare Tax and Self-Employment
  • Also refer to Online Certificate of Coverage

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