Bilateral social security agreement with the United States of America
If you send an Australian employee to work temporarily in the United States, you must continue to pay superannuation guarantee contributions in Australia for them.
Before you send the employee, apply to us for a certificate of coverage:
We'll issue a certificate to you on the basis that you'll continue to make super guarantee contributions in Australia for the employee. You or your employee then show the certificate to the authorities in the United States to be exempted from super payments in the United States. The certificate can cover a period of up to five years.
When completing the request for a certificate of coverage, you'll need to provide an Australian contact name and their phone, fax and e-mail details.
When you receive the certificate, keep a copy for your records and give the original to your employee to take with them to the United States.
On this page:
About the agreement
Our bilateral social security agreement with the United States applies when double super coverage occurs – that is, when you or your employee would otherwise have to make super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) in both countries for the same work by your employee. It applies to Australian super guarantee law and the relevant United States social security and tax laws.
For information about:
The agreement started on 1 October 2002.
Effect for different types of employees
Employees working temporarily overseas
If you send your employee to work in the United States for a period not exceeding five years – for your business or a related entity – and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of your home country will apply. This means super guarantee contributions (or equivalent) are required only under the law of the country that your employee is most likely to retire in.
This rule also applies if the Australian employee was initially sent to a country other than the United States and is then sent from that country to the United States.
Martha is sent by her Australian employer to work in Singapore for six months and is then sent from Singapore to the United States to work for a year. Martha will still be covered by Australia's super guarantee legislation as well as the United States laws while working in the United States – therefore double super coverage occurs.
Under the agreement, Martha and her employer will be exempt from making social security contributions in the United States under the relevant United States law but Martha's employer will continue to make super guarantee contributions as required in Australia.
End of example
Government employees working overseas
If a government employee is sent to work temporarily in the United States and double super coverage occurs, only the super laws of Australia will apply.
The secondment period for government employees working in the United States is not subject to the five-year limit.
The agreement doesn't apply to self-employed Australian residents working in the United States. They're not subject to super guarantee law in Australia so double super coverage doesn't occur.
Work on ships and aircraft
If double super coverage occurs for a person working on a ship or aircraft in international traffic, the law of the country in which the person is a resident will apply.
The agreement doesn't affect the treatment of diplomats and consulate officials under the relevant Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations.
Extension beyond five years
Generally, a certificate of coverage will cover Australian employees for up to five years employment in the United States. If you need coverage for longer than five years, you'll need to write to us explaining the reasons for the extension.
Approval to extend a certificate of coverage is determined on a case-by-case basis. We can grant an extension only with the mutual agreement of the relevant agency in the United States, and only in certain circumstances.
An extension may be granted when:
- an individual who was scheduled to replace the worker is unable to do so because of death, serious illness or resignation
- the worker must remain in the country of secondment due to an unexpected personal situation. This includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children) or if the worker's children are required to stay to complete the school year
- the worker has been under one country's social security system throughout his or her career and is planning to retire in the immediate future
- the extension is for a short period
- the worker returned to the country of origin for a short period during the period of secondment for unexpected personal reasons – this includes medical reasons (self, spouse, children)
- the extension for work purposes would be in the national interest of either country
- cessation will cause undue hardship to the employer or employee
- there has been a reorganisation of a company and the worker maintains an important role in the reorganisation
- the worker has special skills or background, and the employer makes a strong case for needing the worker to complete a special assignment or project that will be concluded within one to four years after the five-year secondment period.
An extension may also be granted in other special circumstances.
Your request for an extension must be in writing and should include the:
- employer's name, ABN and contact details
- employee's name
- certificate number
- reason for extension.
Send your request to:
Superannuation – Bilateral agreements
Australian Taxation Office
GPO Box 9977
ADELAIDE SA 5001
The bilateral social security agreement between Australia and the United States of America deals with double superannuation coverage when an employee from one country is sent to work temporarily in the other country.