Cost - Included in our Federal Package Flat Fee For one small business operated as a sole proprietorship.

If you are a self-employed U.S. citizen or resident, the rules for paying self-employment tax are generally the same whether you are living in the United States or abroad.

Generally, self-employed taxpayers must file a US income tax return if net earnings from self-employment were $400 or more.

Self-employment income is income that arises from the performance of personal services, but which cannot be classified as wages because an employer-employee relationship does not exist between the payer and the payee. The Internal Revenue Code imposes the self-employment tax on the self-employment income of any U.S. citizen or resident alien who has such self-employment income.

Self-employed individuals generally must pay self-employment tax as well as income tax. Self-employed tax is a Social Security and Medicare tax primarily for individuals who work for themselves. It is similar to the Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the pay of most wage earners. Your payments of these taxes contribute to your coverage under the U.S. social security system.

The self-employment tax rate is a percentage set by law of your net earnings from self-employment. This rate consists of 12.4% for social security and 2.9% for Medicare taxes for 2013. The maximum amount of net earnings subject to the social security tax is set by law and changes annually. All of your net earnings are subject to the Medicare tax. For 2014, the maximum amount of net earnings from self-employment that is subject to the social security portion of the tax is $106,800. All net earnings are subject to the Medicare portion of the tax.

Self-employed expats may exclude all or part of their self-employment income through the foreign earned income and housing exclusions. However, they still are responsible for the self-employment taxes unless there is a social security agreement between the host country and the US.

International Social Security Agreements

The United States has entered into social security agreements with foreign countries to coordinate social security coverage and taxation of workers employed for part or all of their working careers in one of the countries. These agreements are commonly referred to as Totalization Agreements. Under these agreements, dual coverage and dual contributions (taxes) for the same work are eliminated. The agreements generally make sure that social security taxes (including self-employment tax) are paid only to one country.

If your self-employment earnings should be exempt from social security tax under a totalization agreement, you should request a certificate of coverage from your host country. The certificate will establish your social security coverage under the social security system of your host country.

Following is a list of the agreements the United States has concluded and the date of the entry into force of each. Some of these agreements were subsequently revised; the date shown is the date the original agreement entered into force.

Countries with Social Security Agreements

Country Entry into Force
Italy November 1, 1978
Germany December 1, 1979
Switzerland November 1, 1980
Belgium July 1, 1984
Norway July 1, 1984
Canada August 1, 1984
United Kingdom January 1, 1985
Sweden January 1, 1987
Spain April 1, 1988
France July 1, 1988
Portugal August 1, 1989
Netherlands November 1, 1990
Austria November 1, 1991
Finland November 1, 1992
Ireland September 1, 1993
Luxembourg November 1, 1993
Greece September 1, 1994
South Korea April 1, 2001
Chile December 1, 2001
Australia October 1, 2002
Japan October 1, 2005
Denmark October 1, 2008
Czech Republic January 1, 2009
Poland March 1, 2009