On September 1, 2016, the US–Hungary Totalization Agreement entered into force. In this article, I will briefly discuss the main benefits of this Agreement to US and Hungarian nations.
US–Hungary Totalization Agreement: What is a Totalization Agreement?
The Totalization Agreements are authorized by Section 233 of the Social Security Act for the purpose of eliminating the burden of dual social security taxes. In essence, these are social security agreements between two countries that protect the benefit rights of workers who have working careers in both countries and prevent such workers and their employers from paying social security taxes on the same earnings in both countries.
Usually, such a situation arises where a worker from country A works in Country B, but he is covered under the social security systems in both countries. In such cases, without a totalization agreement, the worker has to pay social security taxes to both countries A and B on the same earnings.
US–Hungary Totalization Agreement Background
The US–Hungary Totalization Agreement was signed by the United States and Hungary on February 3, 2015 and entered into force on September 1, 2016. This means that Hungary now joined 25 other countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – that have similar Totalization Agreements with the United States.
US–Hungary Totalization Agreement: Key Provisions
There are three key provisions of the US–Hungary Totalization Agreement which are relevant to Hungarian and US workers. First, protection of workers’ benefits and prevention of dual taxation. US workers who work in Hungary and are already covered under Hungarian social security system should be exempt from US social security payments, including health insurance (under FICA and SECA only), retirement insurance, survivors and disability insurance contributions. However, US–Hungary Totalization Agreement does not apply to the Medicare; US employees must still make sure that they have adequate medical insurance coverage. Similarly, Hungarian workers who work in the United States and are already covered by the US social security system should be exempt from Hungarian social security taxes.
The second key provision of the US–Hungary Totalization Agreement provides for a Certificate of Coverage. The Certificate can be used by an employee to remain covered under his home country’s social security system for up to 60 months. Additional extensions are possible upon approval by the host country.
Finally, under the US–Hungary Totalization Agreement, workers may qualify for partial US benefits or partial Hungarian benefits based on combined (or “totalized”) work credits from both countries. This means that, where there is insufficient number of periods (or credits in the United States) to claim social security benefits, the periods of contributions in one country can be added to the period of contributions in another country to qualify to these benefits.
Contact Sherayzen Law Office for US Tax Issues Concerning Hungarian Assets and Income
If you have foreign accounts and other assets in Hungary and/or income from these Hungarian assets, contact Sherayzen Law Office for professional help. We have helped hundreds of clients throughout the world, including in Hungary, with their US tax issues and we can help you!