Participation in Social Security is mandatory for the vast majority of employees working the United States. However, some types of employees do qualify for exemptions. To end participation, you must communicate to your employer that you qualify for an exemption. Those who are eligible fall into four main groups: foreign workers, students, members of clergy and conscientious objectors. The process to stop payroll deductions differs among the groups. Some variations among states exist regarding exemption qualifications for students and foreign workers. Check the tax laws in the state where you work to confirm that you qualify.
If you are a foreign worker not planning to immigrate to the United States, authorization for an exemption from Social Security deductions are usually granted on forms I-94 “Arrival and Departure Record” or Form I-20 “Certificate of Eligibility for Non-immigrant Student Status.” These exemptions apply to nonimmigrant students or academic professionals, employees of foreign governments and crew members of foreign vessels, among others. A complete description of qualifying nonimmigrant workers can be found in the IRS topic “Foreign Student Liability for Social Security and Medicare Taxes” at www.IRS.gov. An employer aware of your status will not deduct for Social Security.
Are you a college student working for your school? Ask your academic institution to provide an exemption form to avoid Social Security and Medicaid being withheld. The nature of these forms varies between institutions, so be sure to use a form supplied by your school.
File IRS Form 4361 if you are a clergy member recognized by a religious organization or a Christian Science practitioner. Such employees are also exempt from Social Security withholding. Notify your employer you intend to file an exemption to end payroll deductions.
File IRS Form 4029 if you are a member of qualifying religious organizations recognized as exempt from Social Security. Primarily established for the “Old Order Amish” community, other religious groups formed prior to 1950 also qualify. Consult the “General Instructions” at the bottom of the form for a complete list of recognized religious communities.
If your employer has deducted for Social Security from your paycheck but you are exempt from paying Social Security taxes, you may be able to ask for a refund directly from your employer. Otherwise, file IRS Form 843 to claim a refund based on the improper deductions.
Don’t attempt to file a Form 4029 if you are merely personally opposed to paying the Social Security tax. Some political or religious groups erroneously assert you can qualify for an exemption. You must be able to prove you belong to qualifying group outlined on the form.