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If I am behind with filing my tax returns as an expat who has lived and worked outside the US for over twenty years and has never made over the $85,000 per year threshold, will my application for Social Security benefits be jeopardized in any way?

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Brett Thompson, JD, CPA
Yes. Go to SSA.gov and get an earnings record to see if you even qualify and have 40 quarters paid in. Did your employer have a §3121(l) agreement and in what country did you work? If you file you probably have a Form 2555 exclusion, but you have to file to get it. But hopefully you don't owe any income tax.
Reply 140 weeks ago
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Brett Thompson, JD, CPA
DISCLAIMER. This information should not, and is not, legal advice and is solely for purposes of discussion. Every fact pattern is unique. The law in this area changes rapidly and no representations are made as to its accuracy, efficacy or timeliness are made. Readers must engage competent and experienced counsel regarding their specific circumstances.

Same answer as my inquiry asking for more info. You must seek professional counsel.

Yes. Go to SSA.gov and get an earnings record to see if you even qualify and have 40 quarters paid in. Did your employer have a §3121(l) agreement and in what country did you work? If you file you probably have a Form 2555 exclusion, but you have to file to get it. But hopefully you don't owe any income tax.
Leave a Comment 140 weeks ago

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John Richardson
First, are you eligible for Social Security in the USA based ONLY on your work in the USA? In order to qualify you need 40 quarters paid in (as Mr. Thompson notes). Second, if you do NOT have the 40 quarters and you live in a country with at Totalization agreement, you may be able to "total" the Social Security payments made to both countries to arrive at the required 40. See: www.ssa.gov/international/agreements_overview.html Finally, it sounds as though you are saying that you have not been filing taxes because your income never exceeded the threshold for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. That is a separate issue. If you had been self-employed and living in a country without a Totalization Agreement it is possible that you could actually owe U.S. Social Security taxes (which could be painful). Anyway, those are the basic issues. Suggest you go to the Social Security site: ssa.gov and do some reading.
Leave a Comment 140 weeks ago


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