https://stackoverflow.blog/2021/02/19/podcast-314-how-do-digital-nomads-pay-their-taxes/ got me thinking, how would a United States citizen, living in Taiwan (which has no Social Security totalization agreement with the US) working for a Canadian company online, pay their Social Security contributions? To make things more complicated, the US and Canada have a Social Security totalization agreement.

Also let's say this person already has 5 years, 20 credits and needs five more years, 20 more credits, to reach the 40 credit threshold for receiving US Social Security benefits.

So might the Canadian company report the earnings to Canada, or perhaps the US citizen will be better off filing as self-employed and paying the Social Security taxes directly himself? Etc.

Or maybe he can't make contributions even if he wants to, because he is not working for US company, or present in the United states?

See also https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/persons-employed-by-a-foreign-employer .

  • 1
    How is the person paying the taxes in Canada? Is that person also a Canadian citizen?
    – littleadv
    Sep 14, 2022 at 16:17
  • For the purposes of discussion, let's assume the person has never even been in Canada! Sep 16, 2022 at 7:18

1 Answer 1


It appears that Canada is a red-herring in this question. Canada doesn't tax non-residents on earned income, and if your employer makes deductions you should claim refund (see here).

From the US tax perspective, if you're resident in a foreign country and are working for a foreign employer you do not pay your social security taxes, as described in the IRS link you've provided.

If you're self-employed, then you're paying the SE tax regardless of where you live.

  • 2
    ...of course that also means you aren't paying into Social Security, which will lessen your benefit when you retire.
    – T.E.D.
    Sep 14, 2022 at 20:27

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