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Regular & Disability Benefits

Question: I retired last year, and started receiving social security payments. Do I have to pay taxes on my social security benefits?

Answer:

Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. They do not include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which are not taxable. The amount of social security benefits that must be included on your income tax return and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year.

To find out whether any of your benefits may be taxable, compare the base amount for your filing status with the total of:

  • One-half of your benefits.
  • All of your other income, including tax-exempt interest.

The base amount for your filing status is shown next:

  • $25,000 if you are single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er),
  • $25,000 if you are married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for the entire year,
  • $32,000 if you are married filing jointly.
  • $-0- if you are married filing separately and live with your spouse at any time during the tax year.

If you are married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits.  Even if your spouse did not receive any benefits, you must add your spouse's income to yours when figuring if any of your benefits are taxable, if you file a joint return.

The taxable amount of the benefits can be figured on a worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040 or Instructions for Form 1040A, or in Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.

Additional Information:


Category: Social Security Income
Subcategory: Regular & Disability Benefits

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The OMB number for this study is 1545-1432.
If you have any comments regarding this study, please write to:
IRS, Tax Products Coordinating Committee
SE:W:CAR:MP:T:T:SP
1111 Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20224