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I am a dual US/Canadian citizen who recently moved back to…

Customer Question
I am a dual...

I am a dual US/Canadian citizen who recently moved back to Canada after 30 years in the US. I will be receiving US Social Security retirement payments very soon. I am 63 so less than full retirement age. I would like to sell my art which I do as a hobby. I don't anticipate earning more than $5000/year. Will the Foreign Work Test apply to me?

Accountant's Assistant: What's your current age and retirement age?

My current age is 63 and 2 months and my full retirement age is 66 and 2 months

Accountant's Assistant: Anything else you want the Retirement Accountant to know before I connect you?

I file taxes in both US and Canada. I might also want to do part-time tutoring in math and computer programming.

Submitted: 17 days ago.Category: Social Security
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Answered in 1 hour by:
5/31/2018
Social Security Expert: Barbara, Enrolled Agent replied 17 days ago
Barbara
Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 6,134
Experience: 20+ years of experience in tax preparation; 30+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.
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Welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you.

The Foreign Work Test will apply to you if you are younger than full retirement age, Social Security will withhold your benefits for each month you work more than 45 hours outside the United States in employment or self-employment not subject to U.S. Social Security taxes. It does not matter how much you earned or how many hours you worked each day.

The following link contains additional detailed information which you will find helpful:

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf

You will report any work that you do to Social Security.

Please let me know if I can assist you further.

Thank you and best regards,

Barb

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Customer reply replied 17 days ago
I am very familiar with the link you have provided. My question is how does SSA determine my hours worked per month if I am creating art as a hobby and not providing service to anyone? I would sell my art via consignment either in local gift shops or using online venus. Any income I earn would be considered for tax purposes as self-employed. According to articles I have read, the SSA will count my hours as being over 45 hours a month unless I specifically advertise publicly my hours of work at less than 45 hours a month (or less than 10 hours a week). I’m concluding that I may be penalized significantly for selling my art that I do as a hobby while living outside US. I was hoping that someone familiar with these matters can provide some sort of alternative that will allow me to sell my art without losing all my social security benefits.
Social Security Expert: Barbara, Enrolled Agent replied 17 days ago

As the Social Security link I provided states: "It does not matter how much you earned or how many hours you worked each day."

The determining factor is you cannot work more than 45 hours per month.

In the US,

For tax purposes, a hobby is defined as an activity that you engage in “for sport or recreation, not to make a profit.” Even if you earn occasional income from doing such an activity, the primary purpose must be something other than making a profit.

To distinguish between a hobby and a business, you must take into account all the facts and circumstances of your situation. The IRS lays out the following 9 factors that should be considered when establishing if an activity is a business engaged in making a profit:

  • Whether you carry on the activity in a businesslike manner
  • Whether the time and effort you put into the activity indicate that you intend to make it profitable
  • Whether you depend on income from the activity for your livelihood
  • Whether your losses are due to circumstances beyond your control, or are normal in the startup phase of your type of business
  • Whether you adjust your methods of operation in an attempt to improve profitability
  • Whether you (or your advisors) have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business
  • Whether you were successful in making a profit in similar activities in the past
  • Whether the activity makes a profit in some years, and how much profit it makes
  • Whether you can expect to make a future profit from the appreciation of the assets used in the activity

According to the IRS, an activity is deemed as a business if it makes a profit during at least 3 of the last 5 tax years.

In your case, creating art is not work or earnings for self-employment purposes.

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Customer reply replied 14 days ago
I’m sorry but you have not answered my questions and I do not feel you are qualified to answer my questions. All of the information you have given comes from web sites that I have already read. I need to find qualified legal expert who has previous explicit experience dealing with Foreign Work Test affecting a US person living outside the US and collecting Social Security prior to full retirement age who needs to work part-time.I hope I will not be charged any fees. I do not wish to continue this conversation. Please do not send me any more emails.
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Barbara
Barbara, Enrolled Agent
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 6,134
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Experience: 20+ years of experience in tax preparation; 30+ years of experience as a real estate/corporate paralegal.

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