How Social Security Income is Taxed

Excited about retiring in the near future? As it gets closer you’re no doubt making sure and double checking that all the numbers are adding up and that’s a smart move. When you’re planning your retirement you have look at everything – such as all of your income streams during retirement and your living expenses you’ll be expecting.

Something that you also want to check are taxes you’d be expected to pay, specifically taxes on your Social Security income.

Social Security

Social Security

Will My Social Security Income Be Taxed?

Not everyone has to pay taxes on their Social Security benefits.  To see if your Social Security will be taxed, you have to look at your *combined income and your marital status.  According to IRS Publication 915 (Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits), the income thresholds for Social Security are:

  • If you’re single and your total combined income for the year is between $25,000 and $34,000, then up to 50% of your benefits can be taxed.
  • If you’re single and your total combined income for the year is greater than $34,000, then up to 85% of your benefits can be taxed.
  • If you’re married filing jointly and your total combined income for the year is between $32,000 and $44,000, then up to 50% of your benefits can be taxed.
  • If you’re married filing jointly and your total combined income for the year is greater than $44,000, then up to 85% of your benefits can be taxed.

* Combined Income-Combined income when figuring tax on social security income is Adjusted Gross Income plus nontaxable interest plus 1/2 of social security benefits.

SSA-1099: You’ll Need It

If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, you can use your SSA-1099 form (Social Security Benefit Statement) to determine how much of your benefits are taxable. You should receive it in January and should have the information required for the previous year.

When you file taxes, you’ll need this form, so please keep it in a safe place.  Don’t worry about figuring how much of your social security income is taxable.  TurboTax easily makes the behind the scenes calculations and figures out the accurate amount of social security income that is taxable based on your income entries.

Thoughts on Social Security Income

I’d love to hear your stories. Are you preparing to retire soon? Have you considered your Social Security income?

Elle Martinez

Elle helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second.

Comments (46) Leave your comment

  1. I will start drawing social security in August. I am 62, my husband is still working. He makes around $49,000 a year. If i understand correctly that means I will have to pay taxes on 85% of what I draw if we file jointly. Should we file separately now, or would that be worse on us? No other income.

    • Not really, in very general terms, take 1/2 of your social security add it to your husbands 49,000. Anything above 32,000 up to 44,000 you pay taxes on 50% on that amount,(6000) Any amount over 44,000 you pay taxes on 85% up to certain amount. This is for filing jointly.
      We took 1/2 of my SS, (10,400) added it to my part time job (5,500) then added my IRA distributions (31,000) I had to take out extra to buy a car. But I made sure the IRA distributions took off 12% for taxes and I still got 1,800 refunded back. Good Luck.

  2. Is SSDI considered Gross income. Trying to claim my daughter as a dependent and she only receives ssdi. she passes all the other tests as my dependent

  3. Next year I will be receiving retirement of approximately $10,000 and SSI 0f $22,000. My wife is not eligible for SSI, however she will be receiving approximately $48,000 per year in retirement benefits. Any way I can save paying taxes on my SSI if I file separately? What if we legally divorce and just co-habitate?

  4. in 2012 I was taxed on $2,000 of SS income. For 2013 I’m taxed on 22,000 of income. I’m 72 years old so my benefit is nominally the same. What happened? Does Obamacare require taxing more of my SS?

  5. I have just started my SSD award and the SSA gave me $1668.00 per month my spouse started her job and is receiving $29,000 annually, I also have 3 children that I will claim for SSD. Should I file joint retune or single?

  6. i am 64 i have a 13 yr. old daughter. She and i are going to start drawing my ss.will she have to file taxes on hers next tax season.Or will her age keep her from having to file.

  7. Hello I have lots of questions! I’m a mother of 2 boys (9months & 4yrs old) I only work for a couple months and grossed almost $1200 for the year because I had my youngest. My 4yr olds father passed away in June 2013 and he now gets $620?? A month for ssi.. I dnt think it gets taxed when it’s deposited into an acc to save… I think maybe $150 goes out for bills a month the rest saved. So for taxes what do I have to do? Does his ssi get taxed? Do I need the 1099 form? How do I get that if so? All this is very new to me and I have no idea what to do.

  8. I have two daughters whose mother passed away may 2013. We were divorced, but my daughters receive social security every month. They received around $3900.00 each last year. 80 0/0 goes to savings. The rest to bills. Will I have to pay taxes on it? Just dont want a surprise when I go to do my taxes. Their ages are 15 & 12. I have an income of $41,000.00. And I got the tax form from s.s. Thanks.

  9. I have elected to have 10% of my SSD benefits to be taxed monthly. My husband and I have a combined income above the cut off. I want to know why my benefits are still being taxed at 75-85% every years even though I’ve paid taxes out every month? We have usually gone to H&R Block. One year it was only around 50% and we still were above the cut off, but since, more and more of my benefits are taxed even though I’m paying monthly. Should I elect to stop having them taxed monthly if I’m still gonna be taxed the same amount every year?

  10. Which TurboTax download is best for the following:
    Married filing jointly
    AGI 105K
    Taxable soc security benefits
    some charitable contributions
    heavy medical expenses
    own home/interest and property taxes
    casualty from theft for 2013
    some work expenses

  11. is true that depending on your other income and your filing status,your social security benefits may be taxed at an 85 percent tax rate .

  12. My wife is disabled and receiving social security disability income of about 1100.00 per month. I am 65 and receiving social security income of around 1780.00 per month and I have a small business. Our Adjusted gross income on line 38 for 2012 was 21,769. I assume I will not only be taxed on my earning but be hit with a reduction in benefits since I/We earned over the maximum of 15,120.00. Is her disability income which increased line 38 counted toward the earnings limit? If so should I file as married but filing separately ?

  13. My new husband is in Australia and he is on a pension. I will be making around $12,000.00 a year SSI and about $6,000.00 pers pension for a combo of $18,000.00. I want to file married filing separate. Will I have to pay taxes on my SSI and pension?

  14. My partner and I are getting married in NH in Nov. We will file a married joint return for the 1st time for 2013. His income is about $45,000 I receive SSDI in the amount of $16,000 with a combined income now of $61,000 will we have to pay taxes on my ss >>>>

  15. I receive ssd inthe amount of 2115 per month
    It totals 25380. It is my only income. Will I have to pay taxes on 380 dollars?

  16. Not understanding the 32,000 subtraction for Social Security, joint return making over 44,000 23,895 in SS and 52,000 in pensions. Do we pay 85% of the whole total SS or do we pay on half of the SS? Thank you!

  17. It seems that if one spouse is working, that you almost certain to be taxed on social security benefits received. Would this be true if the recipient was receiving SSDI for being 100% disabled and unable to work as apposed to normal social security benefits? Also, is there an incentive to have a husband and wife file separately?

    Besides tax exempt income, is there any other quirks in the formula to determine how much the pension is taxable?

    .

  18. So, it does not matter that receiving the $14,000 SS benefits I do not work, if my wife’s earnings are $70,000, then 85% of my SS will be added to those $70,000 to be taxed in those brackets as one amount. Joint tax report. Am I correct? Thank you.

  19. My wife turned 66 in April and started collecting social security. Our only other income is my unemployment and my IRA withdrawals but I estimate that the result will be taxable income of about $70,000. Will we be better off by filing separate returns if her some percentage of her social security is going to be taxed?

  20. Hello, Can someone please answer this. I received a total of $29,365 in 2012. $6,680 was SS benefits. Originallly, a refund was due for $75.00, but received notification from IRS changing everything to Balance Due because I miscalculated. Filing Status: Head of Household. They taxed me on all my SS benefits apparently. From what I see here and in IRS Pubs, my filing status allows income between $34,000-44,000. Why am I being taxed at all?

  21. How do you set up pre payments to the IRS , I will have made a combined income of $ 40,000 for this year. 20,00 from ss and 10,000 of this was a withdrawal from my annunity. Thank you for your help. Sherry

  22. If you make less than 24,000 (that’s combined SS and other income) will you pay any income taxes?

  23. In other words If I make a “combined income” of $35,000, ($17,000 IRA distributions) + ($10,000 1/2 ofSS) + ($8,000 W2s) the amount over $32,000 or $3000, then %50 of this amount will be taxed. So its actually the combined income product OVER $32,000, ($3000) or 50% of it will be taxed ?

  24. Hello friend @ Turbotax
    I received SS disability in the amount of
    $15,259 and a small pension that payed me
    $9,582 for a total of $24,841 of which my Social Security disability is %62.33
    Do I need to pay taxes on the SSDI and if so, how do I figure it?
    Thank you

  25. i am single and receive a total of 42,000 a year but have 1 other dependent. do i get a break on my total income that would reduce my ss income tax?

  26. On the SS form, line C says, ‘Enter your total income that is taxable.’ Would that be the amount from line 43 on the 1040 form?” It’s called ‘Taxable Income’ and is after deductions are subtracted. Sorry if this seems obvious, but I just don’t want to make a mistake.

  27. Hi–thanx for taking the time to answer questions! My husband is 10 years older than me. He will be retiring much sooner, and I will continue to work. My question is, is my non-ss income from working considered as this “other” income when calculating the taxable amount of his benefit? Thanks!

  28. hello
    If my son who is 5 years old gets SS Benefits/income (deceased parent) do I add that income to my taxes/ taxable income or should I file a separate tax return for him

  29. The first Social Security check that my wife received was FOR the month of Dec. 2012 but the check was received in Jan. 2013. Will this Social Security amount be reported on our 2012 return or on our 2013 return ?

  30. My daughter receives SSI. She’s 22. Is she taxed on her monthly benefit?

    She earned $808.00 last year working a little side job. I just wanted to confirm if she owes Federal and State tax on those earnings as well. I slipped up and didn’t file anything on those earnings for 2011. If she owes, what is the penalty we would owe?

    Thank you so much!!

    • Hi Sherry,
      Generally people don’t have to pay taxes when they just have social security income. If you have other income it may be taxed, but the amount your daughter earned was low. If your daughters combined income was between $25,000 and $34,000 then up to 50% of the social security income would be taxable. I don’t know the total she received but if the $808 she earned plus social security is below $25,000 she probably won’t need to file.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

    • If husband and wife total income is from ss of 34,000 filing jointly, will we be taxed on that for 2012? Does age figure into the equation?

      Thank you.
      Marie

      • Hi Marie,
        Typically if social security is your only income it would not be taxable. If you have other income in addition to social security and the combined income is 34,000 to 44,000 then up to 50% would be taxable.
        Thank you,
        Lisa Greene-Lewis

  31. My wife and I have a combined income of 20,500 for 2012.
    $7,103 of the $29.500 is my Social Security payments.
    Will we be taxed on the $7,103 I received from Social Security?

  32. My wife and i bring home 47K in SS benefits + 20K pension. Will i have to pay taxes on my SS and in what percentage? and for how long?

    • I am doing my taxes by hand. where can I find the % chart and taxable amount of my SS. I am on SSDI, is that still taxed

  33. When determining what amount of SS income is taxed, is the social security income taxed if it is your only income? Is it added to our other income to determine how much tax is paid?

    • Hi Heidi,
      Yes if you have other income it is all added together to determine how much will taxed. Depending on your filing status and total income 50 – 85% of your income may be taxed per the blog post.
      Thank you,
      Lisa Greene-Lewis

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