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Hi

I'm one of those dual citizens who has unfortunately just realised I was supposed to be filing US taxes for the past 22 years!!

I spoke to the IRS London office this morning and they have advised that I file 6 years worth of returns. I'm slowly working through the requirements (thanks to all of the advice on this forum!), but I'm stuck on the Social Security Certificate of Coverage requirements.

For the past three years I have been self employed and I know I need to write to HMRC to request a certificate so that I do not have to pay Social Security on top of the NI contributions I have already made.

However, for the previous 3 years I was employed and it appears that I needed to ask my employer at the time to request the certificate to cover my period of employment! Not being aware of this, I did not do so and am now stuck as to what needs to be done.

Can I ask HMRC to also issue a certificate for my period in employment, or can I just submit proof of NI conts or do I need to beg my former employer to request the certificate now, even though I no longer work there?

I am a permanent UK resident and UK citizen and have no desire to be involved with the US social security system.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks
 

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Take a look at this page from the US Social Security website (it's on the US-UK social security agreement): Description of the U.S.-U.K. Social Security Agreement

If I'm reading it correctly, you only need the certificate of coverage if your employer has a US presence (and thus might be subject to US social security). Personally, I'd just file the back tax forms based on the fact that you have been covered by the UK system these many years. If they have any doubts, they'll come back and ask you for the certificate, but don't hold your breath on them asking.

I've been filing my tax returns from over here (Germany and then France) and the issue of a certification has never come up. And while in Germany I was working for a US based company. Maybe they got a certification for me, but if they did, no one ever mentioned it to me.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Bev. My former employer did not have a US presence when I joined them but did open a small office in Boston part way through my employment. Hopefully I won't I won't be asked for a certificate to cover my time there - you'd think my P60 which outlines my annual contributions would suffice!

In case anyone else is interested, the HMRC contact information on the IRS website is out of date (for a starter, it directs you to the Inland Revenue and they ceased to exist on their own in 2005!). The correct address to request the Certificate of Coverage (US/UK1) is:

International Case Worker
HMRC
Benton Park View
Newcastle Upon Tyne
NE98 1ZZ

Requests sent to the department on the IRS website will eventually find the right home but will likely (according to the person I spoke to) bounce around a few other departments and cause delays.

The direct phone number is: 0845 915 4811
 

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Clarification of Certificate Coverage

Hi Bev

Do you need a certificate of coverage for employment AND self employment, as I have had both at one time and individually at other times.
Or just for each year of the period I am covering - the last 3 yrs of delinquent tax returns?





Take a look at this page from the US Social Security website (it's on the US-UK social security agreement):

If I'm reading it correctly, you only need the certificate of coverage if your employer has a US presence (and thus might be subject to US social security). Personally, I'd just file the back tax forms based on the fact that you have been covered by the UK system these many years. If they have any doubts, they'll come back and ask you for the certificate, but don't hold your breath on them asking.

I've been filing my tax returns from over here (Germany and then France) and the issue of a certification has never come up. And while in Germany I was working for a US based company. Maybe they got a certification for me, but if they did, no one ever mentioned it to me.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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In any event, I wouldn't worry about getting a certificate for years prior to what you're filing. To be honest about it, I've lived over here for 20 years and have never bothered with a certificate of coverage. In the case of employment, you should be able to use your payslips that show you are paying into the local social insurance scheme. And for self-employment, if you're registered for social insurances, I suspect proof of that will do.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I think filing six years of returns is a bit excessive! Take a look at the Streamlined Program (lots of information on the IRS site and our website if you have questions) and if possible, file that way. With the Streamlined they want three years of late returns and six years of FBAR. That means if you file right now you will have to complete 2011-2013 as your three late years, and then file your 2014 as normal. However if you wait until after June to get started, then you can file only 2012-2014 as all three years are now late.

I would for sure request the certificate of coverage now for the years you were self employed. You do not necessarily need to include it with your return (although that would be ideal), however in the event that the IRS requests to see it, at least you will have a copy of it waiting in your records (as we all know the IRS does not give you enough time to request the certificate should you get a letter from them).

Rest assured you are in a really common situation, and one that is easily remedied with some time and paperwork.

Good luck!
 

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Hi David,

I am a US expat, a self-employed artist, resident in the UK, and pay National Insurance here. My business has made only meager profits this year so I don't owe any Income tax in the US but having diligently filled out my 1040 and schedule SE and all for my 2017 tax year, the figures show I owe a few hundred dollars in self-employment tax.

You make it pretty clear that this is double tax and that I shouldn't have to pay it to the US but I would like to know how do I officially claim the benefits of the US/UK totalization agreement in my tax return paperwork? I have searched for this and not found anything except this about attaching a certificate, (which in itself doesn't seem to be actually required). Do I just attach a written cover note to my return? And/or is there a form or some line on one of the forms I'm missing where I claim this so that I am not sending a signed 1040 with a figure in the 'Amount you owe' line 78 which I shouldn't have to pay?

Thanks, Really appreciate your help.

I think filing six years of returns is a bit excessive! Take a look at the Streamlined Program (lots of information on the IRS site and our website if you have questions) and if possible, file that way. With the Streamlined they want three years of late returns and six years of FBAR. That means if you file right now you will have to complete 2011-2013 as your three late years, and then file your 2014 as normal. However if you wait until after June to get started, then you can file only 2012-2014 as all three years are now late.

I would for sure request the certificate of coverage now for the years you were self employed. You do not necessarily need to include it with your return (although that would be ideal), however in the event that the IRS requests to see it, at least you will have a copy of it waiting in your records (as we all know the IRS does not give you enough time to request the certificate should you get a letter from them).

Rest assured you are in a really common situation, and one that is easily remedied with some time and paperwork.

Good luck!
 

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I don't believe you're actually required to attach a certificate to your return. Simply to have some sort of documentation in your possession to show that you are duly enrolled in the social insurances system in your country of residence.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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I requested a certificate of coverage from HMRC and attach a copy of it every year to my tax return. I write "Exempt" on the US Self Employment Tax line 57, and "see attached certificate". It may be over the top, but I was told it was required years ago, and have been doing it ever since.
 
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