Question: If you’re a Canadian citizen in the U.S. on a TN Visa, are you exempt from paying Social Security and Medicare taxes on your paychecks?
Reply: Generally, foreign citizens employed in the U.S. are liable for U.S. social security and Medicare taxes unless they qualify for an exemption. There are exemptions for this tax for scholars, teachers, researchers, and other temporary workers, but only if present in the United States under J-1, Q-1 or Q-2 status. An individual working in the U.S. under TN visa status in one of these occupations would not qualify for this exemption.
A TN visa worker may, however, be exempt from liability for U.S. Social Security or Medicare taxes under a Totalization Agreement. Canada does have a Totalization Agreement with the U.S. Additional information on the eligibility requirements under this Agreement can be found in the links below.
Generally, a foreign citizen who wishes to claim an exemption from U.S. Social Security taxes and Medicare taxes because of a Totalization Agreement must secure a Certificate of Coverage from the social security agency of his home country, and present this Certificate of Coverage to his/her employer.
- Liability for Social Security and Medicare Taxes of Foreign Teachers, Foreign Researchers, and Other Foreign Professionals.
- IRS Information on Totalization Agreements.
- SSA Information on Totalization Agreements.
- SSA Summary of U.S. – Canada Totalization Agreement.
- SSA Complete Text of U.S. – Canada Totalization Agreement.