The Social Security Administration has entered into agreements with a number of countries that prevent double social taxation. As the name implies, these Totalization Agreements also allow for contributions made to both countries' social tax systems to be considered when determining retirement benefits.
Which country should I pay social tax to?
If you continue to be an employee of the home company, then coverage is usually maintained in the home country system. If you only work for a company in the host country, then social tax is paid in the host location as with any other local employee.
What is a certificate of coverage?
A certificate of coverage shows that you are covered by a country's social tax system. This certificate needs to be provided to the employer in the other country to document that you are not subject to social tax there.
How do I apply for a certificate of coverage in the US?
In the US your employer will request a certificate from the Social Security Administration. This is easy to do online. See www.socialsecurity.gov/coc for the application process.
How do I apply for a certificate of coverage in other countries?
Ask your HR or payroll department in your home country how to apply for a certificate of coverage as the procedures vary by location. In much of Europe, you will be requesting an E-101. Also see the link below for information on other countries' social tax systems.
For how long is a certificate of coverage valid?
Typical agreements allow an employee to stay in the home country social system for up to 5 years although your certificate of coverage may not be vail id for this long. Extensions are available under most agreements.
Which countries have Totalization Agreements with the US?
At the time of this writing, the following countries have agreements with the US: Australia Austria Belgium Canada Chile Finland France Germany Greece Ireland Italy Japan Korea (South) Luxembourg Netherlands Norway Portugal Spain Sweden Switzerland United Kingdom.
Where can I get more information on the my specific Totalization Agreement?
Links to agreement descriptions or complete texts are found at www.ssa.gov/international/agreement_descriptions.html
Where do I get information on other countries' social tax systems?
The SSA keeps an extensive list of links to the social tax systems which countries that the US does not have agreements with. These links can be found out www.ssa.gov/international/links.html
What happens when I retire?
If you have paid social tax to several countries but have not contributed enough for a full pension to either country, a Totalization Agreement may allow for your contributions to be added together, or totaled, so that you qualify for a pension. Review the agreement for the countries involved and contact your home country social system for more information.
Can I get government pensions from more than one country?
You may qualify for a pension from several countries. Your pension could also be reduced if you receive a pension in another country.
- Qualifying for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusions
- ►General Questions
- ►Physical Presence Test
- ►Counting Days in the US, Abroad and Traveling
- ►Bona Fide Residence
- ►War Zones and Military Contractors
- Income and Social Tax Withholding
- ►Social Security and Medicare Taxes
- ►Income Tax Withholding
- ►Hypothetical Tax
- ►Totalization Agreements
- ►Due Dates and Extensions
- ►Expatriate Tax Forms
- ►IRS Addresses
- ►Other Resources