Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?

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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 (72) Leave your comment

  1. My son gets ssi disability and is required to pay his share on household expenses. Does the money he pays for his third considered taxable income on my husband and my tax return.

  2. I am going to start social security benefits in November 2014. My husband still has an income. Should we file 2014 taxes separately to avoid being taxes on my social security benefits? or how does that work?

  3. I have been playing with TT to determine what income makes my Social Security more taxable,, when I enter a 1099R (annuity or ira distribution) this doesn’t change my Social Security tax amount.. This seems to be contrary to everything I have read.

  4. My wife passed away in 2014 and I received one final social security check of hers after she passed (SS said it did not need to be returned). Since it is greater than $600, do I have to file a form 1041 or can I include it in our form 1040 for 2014?

  5. I received a ssi check every month but I worked with a apartment complex. I made $3.000 dollars for the whole year do I have to pay back taxes on the $3.000

  6. I received a ssi check every month but I worked for a apartment complex as self employed I made $3.000 for the whole year would I have to pay back taxes on the $3.000 .

  7. I used to make 23000 a year, didn’t owe anything t and didn’t get any money back when I filled. I have no expenses. And now I’m gonna make 32500$ a year. Am I going to have to pay taxes now or get money back ?

    1. My retirement age is 66 . If I draw a SS check I understand I will have to pay back 50 precent of what I make over 1,5480. Per year does the SS tax I will still be paying in count for anything?

      1. I’m 62, starting early ss at 519 a month in oct.
        Now starting job for 35,000 a year. Should I stop SS payments and if so do they require it all back at once? What would I pay or bring home after they tax me. Trying to decide if job worth it.

        What if I find I can’t do job and they let me go, can I start ss back before 65?

        Also will I owe more when house sells in another state from divorce.

  8. I’m married I filed my taxes this year…married…my total income combined… Was 17,000.00…would I be taxed.on my social security… If I decided to collect st 62…..

  9. I will be receiving a 22000 pension and 26000 in social security. I am filing single. How much of this is taxable

    1. Was told allowed 15,700 before taxed.
      Think you will pay on 22000 minus 15700 Allowed. 6300 taxable. Think you have to pay 1.00 for ever 2.00 . If that’s true its. 3150.00
      but maybe contributions can off set it. No one has posted that yet with ss .

      I need to know that too as I give 10 percent

  10. I was told I could take my ss in april instead of July and the only difference would be 15$ a month. Nothing would be different if I made 40,000 a year or 100,000

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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?

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. 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

  21. 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 .

  22. 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 ?

  23. 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?

  24. 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 >>>>

  25. 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!

  26. 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?


    1. Yes, Gerard, Disability income follows the same guidelines. Generally speaking, filing jointly is still the preferable choice as the Tax Table will show you in a heartbeat…married filing separately calls for a higher tax rate. There are certain instances where it is advantageous to file separately, but there are some different rules, too…for instance you can’t deduct student loan interest when filing separately, and if one of you itemizes, then you both must

  27. 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.

  28. 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?

  29. 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?

  30. 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

  31. 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 ?

  32. 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

  33. 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?

  34. 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.

  35. 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!

  36. 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

  37. 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 ?

  38. 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!!

    1. 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

    1. 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.

      1. 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

  39. 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?

  40. 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?

    1. 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

  41. 1. When I enter my ss income in turbo tax, the full amount is shown as taxable income instead of 85%. I reported this situation last night and created an incident report. Can you provide assistance?
    2. In 2010, I received residential energy credits for new windows and doors in excess of $500. In 2011, I replaced my furnace and air conditioner with high efficiency models. My contractor insists that I am entitled to a $500 credit for 2011. However, turbo tax will not allow the credit. What is the correct answer?

  42. At age 62, I will receive a partial teacher retirement. Will I still be eligible to claim half of my husband’s social security?

  43. 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?

    1. 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

      1. I will start receiving SS benefits beginning April 2014 and it will be my only income. Will it be taxed?

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