If you are an American citizen who lives in Canada, and you receive Social Security payments, you must report them on your income tax return. Some of your payments may also qualify for an exemption.

Reporting Your Social Security Income

Report your Social Security payments on line 11500 of your Canadian income tax return. You should also include payments from your individual retirement account on this line. If you receive any Canadian pension or superannuation benefits or other foreign pensions, include them in the total on line 11500.

Converting Your Pension Income to Canadian Currency

Do not report your American Social Security or pension payments in U.S. dollars. Instead, convert them to Canadian dollars. Use the Bank of Canada exchange rate from the day you received the pension. If you received the pension on multiple days throughout the year, use the average annual rate published by the bank.

Claiming Exempt Foreign Income

Under the terms of the Canadian/U.S. tax treaty, you do not have to pay Canadian income tax on the entirety of your Social Security payments. Instead, you may claim an exemption on 15 percent of this income. Multiply the amount of Social Security benefits reported on line 11500 by 0.15, and note the result on line 25600 of your income tax return.

You may include Medicare premiums when calculating your exemption, but you cannot include other types of foreign income when calculating your exemption.

For example, imagine you have reported $50,000 in retirement income on line 11500. Exactly $35,000 is from Canadian sources, and the remainder is from Social Security payments and Medicare premiums. To calculate your exemption, multiply $15,000 by 0.15. Report the result, $2,250, on line 25600, and subtract it from your income before the Canada Revenue Agency applies income tax.

The 50 Percent Exemption

If you have been a resident of Canada, you may possibly be able to claim an exemption on 50 percent of your Social Security payments.

If you receive Social Security payments on behalf of a deceased person, you may also qualify for the 50 percent exemption. To qualify, the deceased person must be your spouse or common-law partner. He also must have resided in Canada until his death, and you must have resided in Canada continuously since his death.

Federal Foreign Tax Credit

If you paid tax to the United States on your Social Security income, you can also claim a federal foreign tax credit.

Don’t include the exempt amount from line 25600 when calculating your credit, but take the rest of your income into account.

Calculate your tax credit using Form T2209, Federal Foreign Tax Credits, and transfer the amount from line 12 to line 40500 of your income tax return. Also, complete the credit form from your province or territory.