How Social Security Income is Taxed

Income and Investments Seniors biking on the beach

When you’re planning your retirement, you have look at all of your income streams during retirement and the living expenses you’ll be expecting. You should also be checking on the taxes you’re expected to pay, specifically taxes on your Social Security income.

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. “Combined income” in relation to social security income is Adjusted Gross Income plus nontaxable interest plus 1/2 of social security benefits.

  • 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.

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 keep it in a safe place! But don’t worry about figuring how much of your social security income is taxable. TurboTax  asks you simple questions and makes the behind the scenes calculations to figure out if your social security income is taxable based on your income entries.

Comments (70) Leave your comment

  1. The original article says not to worry, that turbo tax does the calculations behind the scenes, but why then is the full amount of SSDI entered the same as what you see actually listed in the income section? Anything else requiring calculations is more visible, i.e., mileage calculations, etc. Shouldn’t there be a pop-up showing the 85% or 50% (whichever the case may be), and then the figure calculated as taxable income put on that line for one to see?

  2. I am on SSDI and I make 22,100/yr and I will be receiving an insurance award from my Mom’s 401 this year. My Mom passed away this January. Should the monies from a 401 be added as adjusted income for tax purpose? I have been receiving SSDI for 6years and never had to pay taxes on my income. I am 45 and single, no kids, no mortage!

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