Asked in Social Security and Tax Law for Georgia

Q: US teacher working as a freelancer in Europe: US self-employment tax even with mandatory social security payments?

Freelancers mostly count as self-employed, but freelance teachers are a exception in this European country: They must pay social security (almost 20% of their income into retirement, health insurance on top of that). Of course, they also pay income tax on their profit. Is such a teacher subject to self-employment tax in the US?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Michelle D. Wynn
Michelle D. Wynn
  • Tax Law Lawyer
  • Melbourne, FL

A: It is possible that this teacher may be subject to US self-employment taxes, depending on which country the teacher is working in. The US has entered into "totalization agreements" with many countries that can relieve a person from having to pay Social Security-type payments in both countries. I suggest you take a look at the IRS's webpage for Totalization Agreements here:

It is very important to work with an experienced tax professional, especially when you are living and working outside the US. The US embassy in your country likely has a list of tax professionals on its website that should be experienced in US taxation of people living and working in that country. As with choosing any professional, make sure you do your homework first to verify that the professional does actually have experience with these sorts of issues.

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