TN 17 (06-97)

RS 02001.005 Certificates of Coverage

A. DEFINITION

A certificate of coverage is an official form issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or an authorized agency of an agreement country to certify that the worker named on the form is subject to Social Security coverage in the issuing country and exempt from coverage in the other country.

B. BACKGROUND

Workers who are exempt from U.S. or foreign Social Security coverage under an agreement must document their exemption by obtaining a certificate of coverage from the country that will continue to cover them. For example, a U.S. worker sent on temporary assignment to the United Kingdom would need a certificate of coverage issued by SSA to prove he or she is covered by U.S. Social Security and exempt from U.K. Social Security taxes. Similarly, a U.K. national working temporarily in the United States would need a certificate issued by the U.K. Social Security authorities to prove his or her exemption from U.S. Social Security tax.

C. POLICY

A certificate of coverage issued by an agreement country serves as proof that the designated worker is exempt from U.S. Social Security coverage and taxes. If the worker is an employee, the foreign certificate should be retained in the office of the U.S. employer in case the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) questions why the company is not withholding and paying FICA taxes for the worker. If the worker is self-employed, a photocopy of the certificate must be attached to the U.S. income tax return the worker files each year to prove his or her exemption from SECA taxes.

SSA sends duplicate copies of the certificates of coverage it issues on behalf of qualified U.S. workers to the requesting U.S. employers. It is the employers' responsibility to make a copy available to the tax authorities in the other country, if requested to do so, in order to prove the worker's foreign tax exemption.

D. PROCESS

1. Who Should Request

In the case of employment, a certificate should be requested by the employer or the employer's representative (e.g., an accounting firm, law firm, etc).

In the case of self-employment, the certificate should be requested by the worker or the worker's representative.

2. Who Issues

U.S. certificates of coverage are issued by SSA's Office of International Programs. Employers or the employer’s representative and performers or entertainers can request U.S. certificates of coverage over the Internet. For more information about requesting U.S. certificates of coverage via the Internet, see Certificate of Coverage Service for Employers . A self-employed person (not a performer or entertainer) must submit a request by mail or fax. In addition, if preferred, employers or employer representatives and performers or entertainers can also request a U.S. certificate of coverage by fax to (410) 966-1861 or addressed to:

Social Security Administration
Office of International Programs
P.O. Box 17741
Baltimore, MD 21235-7741

Foreign certificates are issued by one or more designated agencies in each agreement country. Refer to the sections in this subchapter describing individual agreements for information about the appropriate agency.