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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If one is a US expat employed by a foreign company (i.e. not self employed), how could one go about still paying FICA payments? It sounds crazy to want to pay when not required, but the goal would be to get 10 minimum years of payments to have social security in retirement. Could one just declare income as self employed even if not self employed for this purpose?
 

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No, you don't get a choice as to where you pay in your social security. Depending on what country you're working in, you usually pay in to the country where you're working. However, if that country (like, say, the UK) has a social security treaty with the US, the time you work there and pay into their social security (social insurance) system will count toward your 40 quarters in the US system.

When the time comes, you will be able to qualify for US Social Security retirement benefits, and possibly for a partial pension in the system you've paid into. (Depending on that system's qualifying time and how they calculate the benefit.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My point is slightly different. In this case ignore that there is another (foreign) state pension and that there is a mechanism to accumulate into one for the other to get the minimum. I've read about this.
What I cannot find much about is the case I'm talking about to accumulate the minimum years in the US social security to have the minimum number of qualifying periods, i.e. 10 years. Like this there would be two state pensions (one US, one from the foreign state) to draw on albeit at a lower rate from the US SS. This case is about paying into FICA while being abroad but not self employed. Is there a way to redirect or reclassify income to pay in FICA? Can one simply declare an amount of employed income or even savings from prior years as self employed to pay into FICA for a given tax year?
 

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Hi! You should check with an accountant but you might be able to find your answer on line with the IRS. There may be a way to do it online. The IRS will never refuse money from you BUT make sure you record everything.
If I were going to pay my own FICA, which is a great idea - by the way, I would keep a log of every check or automatic payment made by computer. (I can see an image of the checks I write on line but I don't know how long I will have access to it
Sending a paper check on a USA bank account may be difficult if you are living overseas, BUT, you would have a copy of the check. Photocopy the check or scan it. Keep both electronic and paper copies, if possible. You may need to prove it.
Another trick that a friend taught me is to clearly print in capital letters "FOR DEPOSIT ONLY." That simple statement protects the money - your money and the money of the person you are sending the check too, even the IRS.
Just make sure you create a log and keep track of every check and payment you send it.
You can Google any IRS address.
If you need more help with this, please write back.
 

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As I said, no, you aren't allowed to make "voluntary" FICA payments in order to get yourself up to the 10 year mark. The schemes suggested here are frankly not "kosher" and may very well come to tears. (The "for deposit only" thing is for the endorsements on the back of the check.)

If you are working abroad for a foreign employer, you will be paying into the foreign retirement system and thus not eligible for US FICA credits other than under any social security treaty with the country. The exception is if you are working for a US employer - particularly the military or the US government. There is also the option of a regular US employer who would declare you a "temporary transfer" (i.e. for 3 years or less), in which case they can maintain you in your home system (i.e. US SS) during that period at least for benefits. You still have to pay the local income taxes.

The "trick" here is that, to report SS wages, you need an Employer i.d. number. As self-employed, that is your US SS number - but as self-employed, you would need to file a Schedule C and all, plus you pay "self-employment" tax (FICA) based on your profits from your business.
Cheers,
Bev
 
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