US expat freelancer - looking for guide to self-employment tax
December 15, 2017 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm a US citizen living abroad indefinitely, and I began freelancing this September. The country I am living in now has a Social Security totalization agreement with the US. I'm looking for a simple guide to what paperwork I need to file to get and stay current with the IRS.

I've lived and worked abroad for years, so I'm familiar with filing income taxes as a regular employee, but not as a freelancer. From googling and searching the IRS website, I'm aware that freelancers need to pay estimated income tax quarterly (meaning that I may need to backfile something since I did some freelancing in September?), but I can't for the life of me find a guide for my particular situation. The expat community in my current city is quite small (as was my income this year...) so using a tax professional is difficult at the moment.
In case this information helps any potential answers, I meet the physical presence test for residency outside the US, my income is well below the foreign earned income exclusion, and I am registered with and have been paying into the Social Security system of the country where I live since September. Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
posted by aerobic to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Go to, type "working abroad" into the search box, and you will find links to several publications that will probably answer your questions nicely.
posted by megatherium at 12:31 PM on December 15, 2017

My recollection of the SS situation for working and contributing abroad was "you'll fill out some paperwork when you retire and start collecting social security, but only if it will affect your SS income." Here's the website with information on that:

This page looks like it has specific information for people self-employed abroad:
posted by that girl at 12:53 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Thanks that girl - I think the second page you linked has answered my question. I thought I'd checked out most of the international taxpayers pages on, but must have overlooked that one because of the word "businesses" in the title. Cheers!
posted by aerobic at 1:01 PM on December 15, 2017

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