Publication 915 (2018), Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits

For use in preparing 2018 Returns


Publication 915 - Introductory Material

Future Developments

For the latest information about developments related to Pub. 915, such as legislation enacted after it was published, go to IRS.gov/Pub915.

What’s New

No miscellaneous itemized deductions allowed. You can no longer claim any miscellaneous itemized deductions. Miscellaneous itemized deductions are those deductions that would have been subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limitation. See the Instructions for Schedule A (Form 1040) for more information on these changes.

2018 Form 1040 redesigned. The 2018 Form 1040 has been redesigned and is supplemented with new Schedules 1 through 6. These additional schedules will be used as needed to complete more complex tax returns. References to Form 1040 and its related schedules have been revised accordingly in this publication.

Form 1040A and Form 1040–EZ no longer available. Form 1040A and Form 1040-EZ aren't available to file your 2018 taxes. Previous filers of these forms will file Form 1040. References to these forms have been revised accordingly in this publication.

Reminders

my Social Security account. Social security beneficiaries may quickly and easily obtain various information from the SSA's website with a my Social Security account to:

  • Keep track of your earnings and verify them every year,

  • Get an estimate of your future benefits if you are still working,

  • Get a letter with proof of your benefits if you currently receive them,

  • Change your address,

  • Start or change your direct deposit,

  • Get a replacement Medicare card, and

  • Get a replacement Form SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S for the tax season.

For more information and to set up an account, go to SSA.gov/myaccount.

Photographs of missing children. The IRS is a proud partner with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC). Photographs of missing children selected by the Center may appear in this publication on pages that would otherwise be blank. You can help bring these children home by looking at the photographs and calling 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) if you recognize a child.

Introduction

This publication explains the federal income tax rules for social security benefits and equivalent tier 1 railroad retirement benefits. It is prepared through the joint efforts of the IRS, the Social Security Administration (SSA), and the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. They don’t include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, which aren’t taxable.

Equivalent tier 1 railroad retirement benefits are the part of tier 1 benefits that a railroad employee or beneficiary would have been entitled to receive under the social security system. They are commonly called the social security equivalent benefit (SSEB) portion of tier 1 benefits.

If you received these benefits during 2018, you should have received a Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement; Form RRB-1099, Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board; Form SSA-1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement; or Form RRB-1042S, Statement for Nonresident Alien Recipients of Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board, showing the amount.

Note.

When the term "benefits" is used in this publication, it applies to both social security benefits and the SSEB portion of tier 1 railroad retirement benefits.

What is covered in this publication.

This publication covers the following topics.

  • Whether any of your benefits are taxable.

  • How to report taxable benefits.

  • How much is taxable.

  • How to treat lump-sum benefit payments.

  • Deductions related to your benefits, including a deduction or credit you can claim if your repayments are more than your gross benefits.

The Appendix at the end of this publication explains items shown on your Form SSA-1099, SSA-1042S, RRB-1099, or RRB-1042S.

What is not covered in this publication.

This publication doesn’t cover the tax rules for the following railroad retirement benefits.

  • Non-social security equivalent benefit (NSSEB) portion of tier 1 benefits.

  • Tier 2 benefits.

  • Vested dual benefits.

  • Supplemental annuity benefits.

For information on these taxable pension benefits, see Pub. 575, Pension and Annuity Income.

This publication also doesn’t cover the tax rules for foreign social security benefits. These benefits are taxable as annuities, unless they are exempt from U.S. tax or treated as a U.S. social security benefit under a tax treaty.

Comments and suggestions.

We welcome your comments about this publication and your suggestions for future editions.

You can send us comments through IRS.gov/FormComments.

Or you can write to:

Internal Revenue Service
Tax Forms and Publications
1111 Constitution Ave. NW, IR-6526
Washington, DC 20224

 

Although we can’t respond individually to each comment received, we do appreciate your feedback and will consider your comments as we revise our tax forms, instructions, and publications.

Ordering forms and publications.

Visit IRS.gov/FormsPubs to download forms and publications. Otherwise, you can go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to order current and prior-year forms and instructions. Your order should arrive within 10 business days.

Tax questions.

If you have a tax question not answered by this publication, check IRS.gov and How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication.

Useful Items - You may want to see:

Publication

  • 505 Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax

  • 575 Pension and Annuity Income

  • 590-A Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs)

Forms (and Instructions)

  • 1040-ES Estimated Tax for Individuals

  • SSA-1099 Social Security Benefit Statement

  • RRB-1099 Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board

  • W-4V Voluntary Withholding Request

See How To Get Tax Help at the end of this publication for information about getting these publications and forms.

Publication 915 - Main Content

Are Any of Your Benefits Taxable?

To find out whether any of your benefits shown on Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 may be taxable, compare the base amount (explained later) for your filing status with the total of:

  1. One-half of your benefits, plus

  2. All your other income, including tax-exempt interest.

 

Exclusions.

When making this comparison, don’t reduce your other income by any exclusions for:

  • Interest from qualified U.S. savings bonds,

  • Employer-provided adoption benefits,

  • Foreign earned income or foreign housing, or

  • Income earned by bona fide residents of American Samoa or Puerto Rico.

 

Children's benefits.

The rules in this publication apply to benefits received by children. See Who is taxed , later.

This is an Image: taxtip.gif

 

The SSA issues Form SSA-1099 and Form SSA-1042S. The RRB issues Form RRB-1099 and Form RRB-1042S. These forms (tax statements) report the amounts paid and repaid, and taxes withheld for a tax year. You may receive more than one of these forms for the same tax year. See the Appendix, later, for more information.

Each original Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S is valid unless it has been corrected. The RRB will issue a corrected Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S if there is an error in the original. A corrected Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S is indicated as "CORRECTED" and replaces the corresponding original Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S. You must use the latest corrected Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S you received and any original Form RRB-1099 or Form RRB-1042S that the RRB hasn’t corrected when you determine what amounts to report on your tax return.

Figuring total income.

To figure the total of one-half of your benefits plus your other income, use Worksheet A, discussed later. If the total is more than your base amount, part of your benefits may be taxable.

If you are married and file a joint return for 2018, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and your benefits to figure whether any of your combined benefits are taxable. Even if your spouse didn’t receive any benefits, you must add your spouse's income to yours to figure whether any of your benefits are taxable.

This is an Image: taxtip.gif

 

If the only income you received during 2018 was your social security or the SSEB portion of tier 1 railroad retirement benefits, your benefits generally aren’t taxable and you probably don’t have to file a return. If you have income in addition to your benefits, you may have to file a return even if none of your benefits are taxable. See IRS Pub. 501, Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information, or your tax return instructions to find out if you have to file a return.

Base amount.

Your base amount is:

  • $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 all of 2018;

  • $32,000 if you are married filing jointly; or

  • $0 if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during 2018.

 

Worksheet A.

You can use Worksheet A to figure the amount of income to compare with your base amount. This is a quick way to check whether some of your benefits may be taxable.

Worksheet A. A Quick Way To Check if Your Benefits May Be Taxable

Note. If you plan to file a joint income tax return, include your spouse's amounts, if any, on lines A, C, and D.
A. Enter the amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Include the full amount of any lump-sum benefit payments received in 2018, for 2018 and earlier years. (If you received more than one form, combine the amounts from box 5 and enter the total.) A.  
Note. If the amount on line A is zero or less, stop here; none of your benefits are taxable this year.
B. Multiply line A by 50% (0.50) B.  
C. Enter your total income that is taxable (excluding line A), such as pensions, wages, interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. Don’t reduce your income by any deductions, exclusions (listed earlier), or exemptions C.  
D. Enter any tax-exempt interest income such as interest on municipal bonds D.  
E. Add lines B, C, and D E.  
Note. Compare the amount on line E to your base amount for your filing status. If the amount on line E equals or is less than the base amount for your filing status, none of your benefits are taxable this year. If the amount on line E is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable. You need to complete Worksheet 1. If none of your benefits are taxable, but you otherwise must file a tax return, see Benefits not taxable , later, under How To Report Your Benefits.
 

 

Example. You and your spouse (both over 65) are filing a joint return for 2018 and you both received social security benefits during the year. In January 2019, you received a Form SSA-1099 showing net benefits of $6,500 in box 5. Your spouse received a Form SSA-1099 showing net benefits of $3,500 in box 5. You also received a taxable pension of $26,200 and interest income of $700. You didn’t have any tax-exempt interest income. Your benefits aren’t taxable for 2018 because your income, as figured in Worksheet A, isn’t more than your base amount ($32,000) for married filing jointly.
Even though none of your benefits are taxable, you must file a return for 2018 because your taxable gross income ($26,900) exceeds the minimum filing requirement amount for your filing status.

 

Filled-in Worksheet A. A Quick Way To Check if Your Benefits May Be Taxable

Note. If you plan to file a joint income tax return, include your spouse's amounts, if any, on lines A, C, and D.
A. Enter the amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Include the full amount of any lump-sum benefit payments received in 2018, for 2018 and earlier years. (If you received more than one form, combine the amounts from box 5 and enter the total.) A. $10,000
Note. If the amount on line A is zero or less, stop here; none of your benefits are taxable this year.
B. Multiply line A by 50% (0.50) B. 5,000
C. Enter your total income that is taxable (excluding line A), such as pensions, wages, interest, ordinary dividends, and capital gain distributions. Don’t reduce your income by any deductions, exclusions (listed earlier), or exemptions C. 26,900
D. Enter any tax-exempt interest income such as interest on municipal bonds D. -0-
E. Add lines B, C, and D E. $31,900
Note. Compare the amount on line E to your base amount for your filing status. If the amount on line E equals or is less than the base amount for your filing status, none of your benefits are taxable this year. If the amount on line E is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable. You need to complete Worksheet 1. If none of your benefits are taxable, but you otherwise must file a tax return, see Benefits not taxable , later, under How To Report Your Benefits.
 

 

Who is taxed.

Benefits are included in the taxable income (to the extent they are taxable) of the person who has the legal right to receive the benefits. For example, if you and your child receive benefits, but the check for your child is made out in your name, you must use only your part of the benefits to see whether any benefits are taxable to you. One-half of the part that belongs to your child must be added to your child's other income to see whether any of those benefits are taxable to your child.

Repayment of benefits.

Any repayment of benefits you made during 2018 must be subtracted from the gross benefits you received in 2018. It doesn’t matter whether the repayment was for a benefit you received in 2018 or in an earlier year. If you repaid more than the gross benefits you received in 2018, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits , later.

Your gross benefits are shown in box 3 of Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099. Your repayments are shown in box 4. The amount in box 5 shows your net benefits for 2018 (box 3 minus box 4). Use the amount in box 5 to figure whether any of your benefits are taxable.

Example.

In 2017, you received $3,000 in social security benefits, and in 2018 you received $2,700. In March 2018, the SSA notified you that you should have received only $2,500 in benefits in 2017. During 2018, you repaid $500 to the SSA. The Form SSA-1099 you received for 2018 shows $2,700 in box 3 (gross amount) and $500 in box 4 (repayment). The amount in box 5 shows your net benefits of $2,200 ($2,700 minus $500).

Tax withholding and estimated tax.

You can choose to have federal income tax withheld from your social security benefits and/or the SSEB portion of your tier 1 railroad retirement benefits. If you choose to do this, you must complete a Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Statement.

If you do not choose to have income tax withheld, you may have to request additional withholding from other income or pay estimated tax during the year. For details, see Pub. 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, or the Instructions for Form 1040-ES, Estimated Tax for Individuals.

U.S. citizens residing abroad.

U.S. citizens who are residents of the following countries are exempt from U.S. tax on their benefits.

  • Canada.

  • Egypt.

  • Germany.

  • Ireland.

  • Israel.

  • Italy. (You also must be a citizen of Italy for the exemption to apply.)

  • Romania.

  • United Kingdom.

 

The SSA won’t withhold U.S. tax from your benefits if you are a U.S. citizen.

The RRB will withhold U.S. tax from your benefits unless you file Form RRB-1001, Nonresident Questionnaire, with the RRB to provide citizenship and residency information. If you don’t file Form RRB-1001, the RRB will consider you a nonresident alien and withhold tax from your railroad retirement benefits at a 30% rate. Contact the RRB to get this form.

Lawful permanent residents.

For U.S. income tax purposes, lawful permanent residents (green card holders) are considered resident aliens until their lawful permanent resident status under the immigration laws is either taken away or is administratively or judicially determined to have been abandoned. Social security benefits paid to a green card holder are not subject to 30% withholding. If you are a green card holder and tax was withheld in error on your social security benefits because you have a foreign address, the withholding tax is refundable by the Social Security Administration (SSA) or the IRS. The SSA will refund taxes erroneously withheld if the refund can be processed during the same calendar year in which the tax was withheld. If the SSA can’t refund the taxes withheld, you must file a Form 1040 with the Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301 to determine if you are entitled to a refund. You also must attach the following information to your Form 1040.

  • A copy of the Form SSA-1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement.

  • A copy of the "green card" unless you are a bona fide resident of American Samoa.

  • A signed declaration that includes the following statements:

 

"The SSA should not have withheld federal income tax from my social security benefits because I am a U.S. lawful permanent resident and my green card has been neither revoked nor administratively or judicially determined to have been abandoned. I am filing a U.S. income tax return for the tax year as a resident alien reporting all of my worldwide income. I have not claimed benefits for the tax year under an income tax treaty as a nonresident alien."

Nonresident aliens.

A nonresident alien is an individual who isn’t a citizen or resident of the United States. If you are a nonresident alien, the rules discussed in this publication don’t apply to you. Instead, 85% of your benefits are taxed at a 30% rate, unless exempt (or subject to a lower rate) by treaty. You will receive a Form SSA-1042S or Form RRB-1042S showing the amount of your benefits. These forms also will show the tax rate and the amount of tax withheld from your benefits.

Under tax treaties with the following countries, residents of these countries are exempt from U.S. tax on their benefits.

  • Canada.

  • Egypt.

  • Germany.

  • Ireland.

  • Israel.

  • Italy.

  • Japan.

  • Romania.

  • United Kingdom.

 

Under a treaty with India, benefits paid to individuals who are both residents and nationals of India are exempt from U.S. tax if the benefits are for services performed for the United States, its subdivisions, or local government authorities.

If you are a resident of Switzerland, your total benefit amount will be taxed at a 15% rate.

For more information on whether you are a nonresident alien, see Pub. 519, U.S. Tax Guide for Aliens.

Exemption from withholding.

If your social security benefits are exempt from tax because you are a resident of one of the treaty countries listed, the SSA won’t withhold U.S. tax from your benefits.

If your railroad retirement benefits are exempt from tax because you are a resident of one of the treaty countries listed, you can claim an exemption from withholding by filing Form RRB-1001 with the RRB. Contact the RRB to get this form.

Canadian or German social security benefits paid to U.S. residents.

Under income tax treaties with Canada and Germany, social security benefits paid by those countries to U.S. residents are treated for U.S. income tax purposes as if they were paid under the social security legislation of the United States. If you receive social security benefits from Canada or Germany, include them on line 1 of Worksheet 1.

How To Report Your Benefits

If part of your benefits are taxable, you must use Form 1040.

Reporting on Form 1040.

Report your net benefits (the total amount from box 5 of all your Forms SSA-1099 and Forms RRB-1099) on line 5a and the taxable part on line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, also enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on line 5a.

Benefits not taxable.

Report your net benefits (the total amount from box 5 of all your Forms SSA-1099 and Forms RRB-1099) on Form 1040, line 5a. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, also enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

How Much Is Taxable?

If part of your benefits are taxable, how much is taxable depends on the total amount of your benefits and other income. Generally, the higher that total amount, the greater the taxable part of your benefits.

Maximum taxable part.

Generally, up to 50% of your benefits will be taxable. However, up to 85% of your benefits can be taxable if either of the following situations applies to you.

  • The total of one-half of your benefits and all your other income is more than $34,000 ($44,000 if you are married filing jointly).

  • You are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during 2018.

 

Which worksheet to use.

A worksheet you can use to figure your taxable benefits is in the instructions for your Form 1040. You can use either that worksheet or Worksheet 1 in this publication, unless any of the following situations applies to you.

  1. You contributed to a traditional individual retirement arrangement (IRA) and you or your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work. In this situation, you must use the special worksheets in Appendix B of Pub. 590-A to figure both your IRA deduction and your taxable benefits.

  2. Situation 1 doesn’t apply and you take an exclusion for interest from qualified U.S. savings bonds (Form 8815), for adoption benefits (Form 8839), for foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ), or for income earned in American Samoa (Form 4563) or Puerto Rico by bona fide residents. In this situation, you must use Worksheet 1 in this publication to figure your taxable benefits.

  3. You received a lump-sum payment for an earlier year. In this situation, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 in this publication. See Lump-Sum Election , later.

 

Examples

A few examples you can use as a guide to figure the taxable part of your benefits follow.

Examples

Example 1. George White is single and files Form 1040 for 2018. In addition to receiving social security payments, he received a fully taxable pension of $18,600, wages from a part-time job of $9,400, and taxable interest income of $990, for a total of $28,990. He received a Form SSA-1099 in January 2019 that shows his net social security benefits of $5,980 in box 5.
To figure his taxable benefits, George completes Worksheet 1, shown below. On line 5a of his Form 1040, George enters his net benefits of $5,980. On line 5b, he enters his taxable benefits of $2,990.

 

Filled-in Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1. $5,980        
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 2,990    
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3. 28,990    
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4. -0-    
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5. -0-    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 31,980    
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7. -0-    
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 31,980    
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9. 25,000    
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10. 6,980    
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11. 9,000    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12. -0-    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13. 6,980    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14. 3,490    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15. 2,990    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16. -0-    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17. 2,990    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18. 5,083    
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19. $2,990    
  This is an Image: taxtip.gif
 
If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

 

Example 2. Ray and Alice Hopkins file a joint return on Form 1040 for 2018. Ray is retired and received a fully taxable pension of $15,500. He also received social security benefits, and his Form SSA-1099 for 2018 shows net benefits of $5,600 in box 5. Alice worked during the year and had wages of $14,000. She made a deductible payment to her IRA account of $1,000 and isn’t covered by a retirement plan at work. Ray and Alice have two savings accounts with a total of $250 in taxable interest income. They complete Worksheet 1, shown below, entering $29,750 ($15,500 + $14,000 + $250) on line 3. They find none of Ray's social security benefits are taxable. On Form 1040, they enter $5,600 on line 5a and -0- on line 5b.

 

Filled-in Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1. $5,600        
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 2,800    
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3. 29,750    
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4. -0-    
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5. -0-    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 32,550    
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7. 1,000    
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 31,550    
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9. 32,000    
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10.      
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11.      
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.      
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.      
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.      
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.      
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.      
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17.      
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18.      
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19.      
  This is an Image: taxtip.gif
 
If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

 

Example 3. Joe and Betty Johnson file a joint return on Form 1040 for 2018. Joe is a retired railroad worker and in 2018 received the SSEB portion of tier 1 railroad retirement benefits. Joe's Form RRB-1099 shows $10,000 in box 5. Betty is a retired government worker and received a fully taxable pension of $38,000. They had $2,300 in taxable interest income plus interest of $200 on a qualified U.S. savings bond. The savings bond interest qualified for the exclusion. They figure their taxable benefits by completing Worksheet 1, shown below. Because they have qualified U.S. savings bond interest, they follow the note at the beginning of the worksheet and use the amount from line 2 of their Schedule B (Form 1040) on line 3 of the worksheet instead of the amount from line 2b of their Form 1040. On line 3 of the worksheet, they enter $40,500 ($38,000 + $2,500). More than 50% of Joe's net benefits are taxable because the income on line 8 of the worksheet ($45,500) is more than $44,000. (See Maximum taxable part under How Much Is Taxable, earlier.) Joe and Betty enter $10,000 on Form 1040, line 5a; and $6,275 on Form 1040, line 5b.

 

Filled-in Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1. $10,000        
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 5,000    
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3. 40,500    
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4. -0-    
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5. -0-    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 45,500    
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7. -0-    
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 45,500    
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9. 32,000    
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10. 13,500    
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11. 12,000    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12. 1,500    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13. 12,000    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14. 6,000    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15. 5,000    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16. 1,275    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17. 6,275    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18. 8,500    
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19. $6,275    
  This is an Image: taxtip.gif
 
If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

 

Example 4. Bill and Eileen Jones are married and live together, but file separate Form 1040 returns for 2018. Bill earned $8,000 during 2018. The only other income he had for the year was $4,000 net social security benefits (box 5 of his Form SSA-1099). Bill figures his taxable benefits by completing Worksheet 1, shown below. He must include 85% of his social security benefits in his taxable income because he is married filing separately and lived with his spouse during 2018. See How Much Is Taxable , earlier. Bill enters $4,000 on his Form 1040, line 5a; and $3,400 on Form 1040, line 5b.

 

Filled-in Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1. $4,000        
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 2,000    
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3. 8,000    
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4. -0-    
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5. -0-    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 10,000    
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7. -0-    
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 10,000    
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9.      
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10.      
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11.      
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.      
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.      
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.      
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.      
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.      
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17. 8,500    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18. 3,400    
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19. $3,400    
  This is an Image: taxtip.gif
 
If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

Lump-Sum Election

You must include the taxable part of a lump-sum (retroactive) payment of benefits received in 2018 in your 2018 income, even if the payment includes benefits for an earlier year.

This is an Image: taxtip.gif

 

This type of lump-sum benefit payment should not be confused with the lump-sum death benefit that both the SSA and RRB pay to many of their beneficiaries. No part of the lump-sum death benefit is subject to tax.

Generally, you use your 2018 income to figure the taxable part of the total benefits received in 2018. However, you may be able to figure the taxable part of a lump-sum payment for an earlier year separately, using your income for the earlier year. You can elect this method if it lowers your taxable benefits.

Under the lump-sum election method, you refigure the taxable part of all your benefits for the earlier year (including the lump-sum payment) using that year's income. Then you subtract any taxable benefits for that year that you previously reported. The remainder is the taxable part of the lump-sum payment. Add it to the taxable part of your benefits for 2018 (figured without the lump-sum payment for the earlier year).

This is an Image: caution.gif

 

Because the earlier year's taxable benefits are included in your 2018 income, no adjustment is made to the earlier year's return. Don’t file an amended return for the earlier year.

Will the lump-sum election method lower your taxable benefits?

To find out, take the following steps.

  1. Complete Worksheet 1 in this publication.

  2. Complete Worksheet 2 and Worksheet 3 as appropriate. Use Worksheet 2 if your lump-sum payment was for a year after 1993. Use Worksheet 3 if it was for 1993 or an earlier year. Complete a separate Worksheet 2 or Worksheet 3 for each earlier year for which you received the lump-sum payment.

  3. Complete Worksheet 4.

  4. Compare the taxable benefits on line 19 of Worksheet 1 with the taxable benefits on line 21 of Worksheet 4.

If the taxable benefits on Worksheet 4 are lower than the taxable benefits on Worksheet 1, you can elect to report the lower amount on your return.

Making the election.

If you elect to report your taxable benefits under the lump-sum election method, follow the instructions at the bottom of Worksheet 4. Don’t attach the completed worksheets to your return. Keep them with your records.

This is an Image: caution.gif

 

Once you elect this method of figuring the taxable part of a lump-sum payment, you can revoke your election only with the consent of the IRS.

Lump-sum payment reported on Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099.

If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that includes benefits for one or more earlier years after 1983, it will be included in box 3 of either Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099. That part of any lump-sum payment for years before 1984 isn’t taxed and won’t be shown on the form. The form also will show the year (or years) the payment is for. However, Form RRB-1099 will not show a breakdown by year (or years) of any lump-sum payment for years before 2016. You must contact the RRB for a breakdown by year for any amount shown in box 9.

Example

Jane Jackson is single. In 2017, she applied for social security disability benefits but was told she was ineligible. She appealed the decision and won. In 2018, she received a lump-sum payment of $6,000, of which $2,000 was for 2017 and $4,000 was for 2018. Jane also received $5,000 in social security benefits in 2018, so her total benefits in 2018 were $11,000. Jane's other income for 2017 and 2018 is as follows.

  Income 2017 2018  
  Wages $20,000 $ 3,500  
  Interest income 2,000 2,500  
  Dividend income 1,000 1,500  
  Fully taxable pension   18,000  
  Total $23,000 $25,500  

 

To see if the lump-sum election method results in lower taxable benefits, she completes Worksheets 1, 2, and 4 from this publication. She doesn’t need to complete Worksheet 3 because her lump-sum payment was for years after 1993.

Jane completes Worksheet 1 to find the amount of her taxable benefits for 2018 under the regular method. She completes Worksheet 2 to find the taxable part of the lump-sum payment for 2017 under the lump-sum election method. She completes Worksheet 4 to decide if the lump-sum election method will lower her taxable benefits.

After completing the worksheets, Jane compares the amounts from Worksheet 4, line 21; and Worksheet 1, line 19. Because the amount on Worksheet 4 is smaller, she chooses to use the lump-sum election method. To do this, she prints "LSE" to the left of Form 1040, line 5a. She then enters $11,000 on Form 1040, line 5a, and her taxable benefits of $2,500 on line 5b.

Jane's filled-in worksheets (1, 2, and 4) follow.

 

Jane Jackson's Filled-in Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1. $11,000        
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 5,500    
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3. 25,500    
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4. -0-    
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5. -0-    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 31,000    
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7. -0-    
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 31,000    
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9. 25,000    
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10. 6,000    
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11. 9,000    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12. -0-    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13. 6,000    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14. 3,000    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15. 3,000    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16. -0-    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17. 3,000    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18. 9,350    
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19. $3,000    
  This is an Image: taxtip.gif
 
If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

 

Jane Jackson's Filled-in Worksheet 2. Figure Your Additional Taxable Benefits (From a Lump-Sum Payment for a Year After 1993)

   
Enter earlier year 2017
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 for the earlier year, plus the lump-sum payment for the earlier year received after that year 1. $2,000        
  Note. If line 1 is zero or less, skip lines 2 through 20 and enter -0- on line 21. Otherwise, go on to line 2.            
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 1,000  
3. Enter your adjusted gross income for the earlier year 3. 23,000  
4. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments you claimed in the earlier year for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839)

  • Qualified U.S. savings bond interest (Form 8815)

  • Student loan interest (Form 1040, page 1; or Form 1040A, page 1)

  • Tuition and fees (Form 1040, page 1; or Form 1040A, page 1)

  • Domestic production activities (for 2005 through 2017) (Form 1040, page 1)

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ)

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563) or Puerto Rico

4. -0-  
5. Enter any tax-exempt interest received in the earlier year 5. -0-  
6. Add lines 2 through 5 6. 24,000  
7. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year that you previously reported 7. -0-  
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 24,000  
9. If, for the earlier year, you were:  
 
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of the earlier year, enter $25,000

9. 25,000  
  Note. If you were married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the earlier year, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 8 more than the amount on line 9?    
  No. Skip lines 10 through 20 and enter -0- on line 21.    
  Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10.    
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly for the earlier year; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of the earlier year 11.    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17.    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18.    
19. Refigured taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18 19.    
20. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year (or as refigured due to a previous lump-sum payment for the year) 20.    
21. Additional taxable benefits. Subtract line 20 from line 19. Also enter this amount on Worksheet 4, line 20 21. -0-  
  This is an Image: caution.gif
 
Don’t file an amended return for this earlier year. Complete a separate Worksheet 2 or Worksheet 3 for each earlier year for which you received a lump-sum payment in 2018.  

 

 

Jane Jackson's Filled-in Worksheet 4. Figure Your Taxable Benefits Under the Lump-Sum Election Method (Use With Worksheet 2 or 3)

   
Complete Worksheet 1 and Worksheets 2 and 3 as appropriate before completing this worksheet.
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 for 2018, minus the lump-sum payment for years before 2018 1. $9,000      
  Note. If line 1 is zero or less, skip lines 2 through 18, enter -0- on line 19 and go to line 20. Otherwise, go on to line 2.          
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2. 4,500  
3. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 3 3. 25,500  
4. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 4 4. -0-  
5. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 5 5. -0-  
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6. 30,000  
7. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 7 7. -0-  
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8. 30,000  
9. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 9. But if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then, go to line 18 9. 25,000  
10. Is the amount on line 8 more than the amount on line 9?
No. Skip lines 10 through 18, enter -0- on line 19, and go to line 20.
Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8
10. 5,000  
11. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 11 11. 9,000  
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12. -0-  
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13. 5,000  
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14. 2,500  
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15. 2,500  
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16. -0-  
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17. 2,500  
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18. 7,650  
19. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18 19. 2,500  
20. Enter the total of the amounts from Worksheet 2, line 21, and Worksheet 3, line 14, for all earlier years for which the lump-sum payment was received 20. -0-  
21. Taxable benefits under lump-sum election method. Add lines 19 and 20 21. $2,500  
Next. Is line 21 above smaller than Worksheet 1, line 19?
No. Don’t use this method to figure your taxable benefits. Follow the instructions on Worksheet 1 to report your benefits.
Yes. You can elect to report your taxable benefits under this method. To elect this method:
   
  1. Enter "LSE" to the left of Form 1040, line 5a.

  2. If line 21 above is zero, follow the instructions in line 10 for "No" on Worksheet 1. Otherwise:

    1. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 1, on Form 1040, line 5a.

    2. Enter the amount from line 21 above on Form 1040, line 5b.

    3. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

 

 

Deductions Related to Your Benefits

You may be entitled to deduct certain amounts related to the benefits you receive.

Disability payments.

You may have received disability payments from your employer or an insurance company that you included as income on your tax return in an earlier year. If you received a lump-sum payment from the SSA or RRB, and you had to repay the employer or insurance company for the disability payments, you can take an itemized deduction for the part of the payments you included in gross income in the earlier year. If the amount you repay is more than $3,000, you may be able to claim a tax credit instead. Claim the deduction or credit in the same way explained under Repayment of benefits received in an earlier year in the section Repayments More Than Gross Benefits, next.

Repayments More Than Gross Benefits

In some situations, your Form SSA-1099 or Form RRB-1099 will show that the total benefits you repaid (box 4) are more than the gross benefits (box 3) you received. If this occurred, your net benefits in box 5 will be a negative figure (a figure in parentheses) and none of your benefits will be taxable. Don’t use Worksheet 1 in this case. If you receive more than one form, a negative figure in box 5 of one form is used to offset a positive figure in box 5 of another form for that same year.

If you have any questions about this negative figure, contact your local SSA office or your local RRB field office.

Joint return.

If you and your spouse file a joint return, and your Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099 has a negative figure in box 5, but your spouse's does not, subtract the amount in box 5 of your form from the amount in box 5 of your spouse's form. You do this to get your net benefits when figuring if your combined benefits are taxable.

Example.

John and Mary file a joint return for 2018. John received Form SSA-1099 showing $3,000 in box 5. Mary also received Form SSA-1099 and the amount in box 5 was ($500). John and Mary will use $2,500 ($3,000 minus $500) as the amount of their net benefits when figuring if any of their combined benefits are taxable.

Repayment of benefits received in an earlier year.

If the total amount shown in box 5 of all of your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 is a negative figure, you may be able to deduct part of this negative figure that represents benefits you included in gross income in an earlier year, if the figure is more than $3,000. If the figure is $3,000 or less, it is a miscellaneous itemized deduction and can no longer be deducted.

Deduction more than $3,000.

If this deduction is more than $3,000, you should figure your tax two ways.

  1. Figure your tax for 2018 with the itemized deduction included on Schedule A, line 16.

  2. Figure your tax for 2018 in the following steps.

    1. Figure the tax without the itemized deduction included on Schedule A, line 16.

    2. For each year after 1983 for which part of the negative figure represents a repayment of benefits, refigure your taxable benefits as if your total benefits for the year were reduced by that part of the negative figure. Then refigure the tax for that year.

    3. Subtract the total of the refigured tax amounts in (b) from the total of your actual tax amounts.

    4. Subtract the result in (c) from the result in (a).

 

Compare the tax figured in methods 1 and 2. Your tax for 2018 is the smaller of the two amounts. If method 1 results in less tax, take the itemized deduction on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 16. If method 2 results in less tax, claim a credit for the amount from step 2c above on Schedule 5 (Form 1040), line 74. Check box d and enter "I.R.C. 1341" in the space next to that box. If both methods produce the same tax, deduct the repayment on Schedule A (Form 1040), line 16.

Worksheets

Blank Worksheets 1 through 4 are provided in this section.

  1. Worksheet 1, Figuring Your Taxable Benefits.

  2. Worksheet 2, Figure Your Additional Taxable Benefits (From a Lump-Sum Payment for a Year After 1993).

  3. Worksheet 3, Figure Your Additional Taxable Benefits (From a Lump-Sum Payment for a Year Before 1994).

  4. Worksheet 4, Figure Your Taxable Benefits Under the Lump-Sum Election Method (Use With Worksheet 2 or 3).

Worksheet 1. Figuring Your Taxable Benefits

Before you begin:
  • If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

  • Don’t use this worksheet if you repaid benefits in 2018 and your total repayments (box 4 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099) were more than your gross benefits for 2018 (box 3 of Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099). None of your benefits are taxable for 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits .

  • If you are filing Form 8815, Exclusion of Interest From Series EE and I U.S. Savings Bonds Issued After 1989, don’t include the amount from line 2b of Form 1040 on line 3 of this worksheet. Instead, include the amount from Schedule B (Form 1040), line 2.

1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5a 1.          
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2.      
3. Combine the amounts from:
Form 1040, lines 1, 2b, 3b, 4b, and Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 22
3.      
4. Enter the amount, if any, from Form 1040, line 2a 4.      
5. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839, line 28),

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555, lines 45 and 50; or Form 2555-EZ, line 18), and

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563, line 15) or Puerto Rico

5.      
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6.      
7. Enter the amounts from Schedule 1 (Form 1040), lines 23 through 32, and any write-in adjustments you entered on the dotted line next to Schedule 1 (Form 1040), line 36 other than any amounts identified as "DPAD" 7.      
8. Is the amount on line 7 less than the amount on line 6?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your social security benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b.        
    Yes. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8.      
9. If you are:
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter $25,000

9.      
  Note. If you are married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time in 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 9 less than the amount on line 8?        
    No. This is an Image: stop.gif
 
None of your benefits are taxable. Enter -0- on Form 1040, line 5b. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, be sure you entered "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.        
    Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10.      
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018 11.      
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.      
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.      
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.      
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.      
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.      
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17.      
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18.      
19. Taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18. Also enter this amount on Form 1040, line 5b 19.      
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If you received a lump-sum payment in 2018 that was for an earlier year, also complete Worksheet 2 or 3 and Worksheet 4 to see if you can report a lower taxable benefit.        

 

Worksheet 2. Figure Your Additional Taxable Benefits (From a Lump-Sum Payment for a Year After 1993)

   
Enter earlier year
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 for the earlier year, plus the lump-sum payment for the earlier year received after that year 1.          
  Note. If line 1 is zero or less, skip lines 2 through 20 and enter -0- on line 21. Otherwise, go on to line 2.            
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2.    
3. Enter your adjusted gross income for the earlier year 3.    
4. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments you claimed in the earlier year for:
  • Adoption benefits (Form 8839)

  • Qualified U.S. savings bond interest (Form 8815)

  • Student loan interest (Form 1040, page 1; or Form 1040A, page 1)

  • Tuition and fees (Form 1040, page 1; or Form 1040A, page 1)

  • Domestic production activities (for 2005 through 2017) (Form 1040, page 1)

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ)

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563) or Puerto Rico

4.    
5. Enter any tax-exempt interest received in the earlier year 5.    
6. Add lines 2 through 5 6.    
7. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year that you previously reported 7.    
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8.    
9. If, for the earlier year, you were:  
 
  • Married filing jointly, enter $32,000

  • Single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of the earlier year, enter $25,000

9.    
  Note. If you were married filing separately and you lived with your spouse at any time during the earlier year, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then go to line 18.        
10. Is the amount on line 8 more than the amount on line 9?    
  No. Skip lines 10 through 20 and enter -0- on line 21.    
  Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8 10.    
11. Enter $12,000 if married filing jointly for the earlier year; $9,000 if single, head of household, qualifying widow(er), or married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of the earlier year 11.    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17.    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18.    
19. Refigured taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18 19.    
20. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year (or as refigured due to a previous lump-sum payment for the year) 20.    
21. Additional taxable benefits. Subtract line 20 from line 19. Also enter this amount on Worksheet 4, line 20 21.    
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Don’t file an amended return for this earlier year. Complete a separate Worksheet 2 or Worksheet 3 for each earlier year for which you received a lump-sum payment in 2018.  

 

Worksheet 3. Figure Your Additional Taxable Benefits (From a Lump-Sum Payment for a Year Before 1994)

Enter earlier year
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 for the earlier year, plus the lump-sum payment for the earlier year received after that year 1.        
  Note. If line 1 is zero or less, skip lines 2 through 13 and enter -0- on line 14. Otherwise, go on to line 2.          
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2.    
3. Enter your adjusted gross income for the earlier year 3.    
4. Enter the total of any exclusions/adjustments you claimed in the earlier year for:
  • Qualified U.S. savings bond interest (Form 8815)

  • Foreign earned income or housing (Form 2555 or Form 2555-EZ)

  • Certain income of bona fide residents of American Samoa (Form 4563) or Puerto Rico

4.    
5. Enter any tax-exempt interest received in the earlier year 5.    
6. Add lines 2 through 5 6.    
7. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year that you previously reported 7.    
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8.    
9. Enter $25,000 ($32,000 if married filing jointly for the earlier year; -0- if married filing separately for the earlier year and you lived with your spouse at any time during the earlier year) 9.    
10. Is the amount on line 8 more than the amount on line 9?
No. Skip lines 10 through 13 and enter -0- on line 14.
Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8.
10.    
11. Multiply line 10 by 50% (0.50) 11.    
12. Refigured taxable benefits. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 11 12.    
13. Enter your taxable benefits for the earlier year (or as refigured due to a previous lump-sum payment for the year) 13.    
14. Additional taxable benefits. Subtract line 13 from line 12. Also enter this amount on Worksheet 4, line 20 14.    
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Don’t file an amended return for this earlier year. Complete a separate Worksheet 2 or Worksheet 3 for each earlier year for which you received a lump-sum payment in 2018.  

 

Worksheet 4. Figure Your Taxable Benefits Under the Lump-Sum Election Method (Use With Worksheet 2 or 3)

 
Complete Worksheet 1 and Worksheets 2 and 3 as appropriate before completing this worksheet.
1. Enter the total amount from box 5 of ALL your Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 for 2018, minus the lump-sum payment for years before 2018 1.        
  Note. If line 1 is zero or less, skip lines 2 through 18, enter -0- on line 19 and go to line 20. Otherwise, go on to line 2.          
2. Multiply line 1 by 50% (0.50) 2.    
3. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 3 3.    
4. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 4 4.    
5. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 5 5.    
6. Combine lines 2, 3, 4, and 5 6.    
7. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 7 7.    
8. Subtract line 7 from line 6 8.    
9. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 9. But if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during 2018, skip lines 9 through 16; multiply line 8 by 85% (0.85) and enter the result on line 17. Then, go to line 18 9.    
10. Is the amount on line 8 more than the amount on line 9?
No. Skip lines 10 through 18, enter -0- on line 19, and go to line 20.
Yes. Subtract line 9 from line 8
10.    
11. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 11 11.    
12. Subtract line 11 from line 10. If zero or less, enter -0- 12.    
13. Enter the smaller of line 10 or line 11 13.    
14. Multiply line 13 by 50% (0.50) 14.    
15. Enter the smaller of line 2 or line 14 15.    
16. Multiply line 12 by 85% (0.85). If line 12 is zero, enter -0- 16.    
17. Add lines 15 and 16 17.    
18. Multiply line 1 by 85% (0.85) 18.    
19. Enter the smaller of line 17 or line 18 19.    
20. Enter the total of the amounts from Worksheet 2, line 21, and Worksheet 3, line 14, for all earlier years for which the lump-sum payment was received 20.    
21. Taxable benefits under lump-sum election method. Add lines 19 and 20 21.    
Next. Is line 21 above smaller than Worksheet 1, line 19?
No. Don’t use this method to figure your taxable benefits. Follow the instructions on Worksheet 1 to report your benefits.
Yes. You can elect to report your taxable benefits under this method. To elect this method:
   
  1. Enter "LSE" to the left of Form 1040, line 5a.

  2. If line 21 above is zero, follow the instructions in line 10 for "No" on Worksheet 1. Otherwise:

    1. Enter the amount from Worksheet 1, line 1, on Form 1040, line 5a.

    2. Enter the amount from line 21 above on Form 1040, line 5b.

    3. If you are married filing separately and you lived apart from your spouse for all of 2018, enter "D" to the right of the word "benefits" on Form 1040, line 5a.

 

 

Appendix

This appendix explains items shown on Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099. Forms SSA-1042S and RRB-1042S, for nonresident aliens, contain the same items plus a few additional ones. These also are explained.

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The illustrated versions of Form SSA-1099, SSA-1042S, RRB-1099, and RRB-1042S in this appendix are proof copies of the forms as they appeared when this publication went to print. The information on the illustrated forms should be essentially the same as the information on the form you received from either the SSA or the RRB. You should, however, compare the form you received with the one shown in this publication to note any differences.

 

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Form SSA-1099 -- Social Security Benefit Statement 2018

Please click here for the text description of the image.

 

 

Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement 2018

Every person who received social security benefits will receive a Form SSA-1099. If you receive benefits on more than one social security record, you may get more than one Form SSA-1099. IRS Notice 703 will be enclosed with this form. It contains a worksheet to help you figure if any of your benefits are taxable. Don’t mail Notice 703 to either the IRS or the SSA.

Box 1—Name

The name shown in this box refers to the person for whom the social security benefits shown on the statement were paid. If you received benefits for yourself, your name will be shown.

Box 2—Beneficiary's Social Security Number

This is the U.S. social security number, if known, of the person named in box 1.

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In all your correspondence with the SSA, be sure to use the claim number shown in box 8.

Box 3—Benefits Paid in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the total benefits paid in 2018 to you (the person named in box 1). This figure may not agree with the amounts you actually received because adjustments may have been made to your benefits before you received them. An asterisk (*) after the figure shown in this box means that it includes benefits received in 2018 for one or more earlier years.

Description of Amount in Box 3

This part of the form describes the items included in the amount shown in box 3. It lists the benefits paid and any adjustments made. Only the adjustments that apply to you will be shown. If no adjustments were made to the benefits paid, the word "none" will be shown.

Paid by check or direct deposit.

This is the amount you actually received or that was deposited directly into your account in a financial institution in 2018.

Additions.

The following adjustment items may have been deducted from your benefits in 2018. If amounts appear on your Form SSA-1099 next to these items, they will be added to the amount shown in "Paid by check or direct deposit."

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Don’t reduce the amount of net social security benefits (box 5) by any of the items listed below. Use the amount in box 5 to figure taxable social security.

Medicare premiums deducted from your benefits.

If you have Medicare premiums deducted from your benefits, this is the amount withheld during 2018. The basic monthly premium in 2018 was $130 for most people, but it could be higher if you were a new enrollee in 2018, you enrolled after you were first eligible, you had a break in coverage, or the modified adjusted gross income shown on your 2016 federal income tax return is greater than $85,000 ($170,000 if married filing jointly).

Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage Premium, and Medicare Part D, Prescription Drug Premium, are other Medicare deductions you may have. These premiums may vary.

Workers' compensation offset.

If you are disabled and receive workers' compensation or Part C Black Lung payments, your benefits are subject to a payment limit. An entry will be shown here if your benefits were reduced to stay within this limit. An entry also will be shown here if your benefits were reduced because the person on whose social security record you were paid is disabled and also received workers' compensation or Part C Black Lung payments.

Paid to another family member.

This entry shows total payments withheld from your benefits if you are required to pay child support or alimony.

Deductions for work or other adjustments.

Amounts withheld from your benefits because of work or to recover an overpayment of any type of benefit are benefits paid to you and will be shown here. They also may be treated as benefits repaid to the SSA and included in the amount in box 4.

Attorney fees.

If you had an attorney handle your social security claim, the figure shown here is the fee withheld from your benefits and paid directly to your attorney.

Voluntary federal income tax withheld.

This shows the total amount of federal income tax withheld from your benefits. Include this amount on your income tax return as tax withheld.

Treasury benefit payment offset, garnishment, and/or tax levy.

Part of your Title II Social Security benefit may be withheld on behalf of the Treasury Department to recover debts you owe to other federal agencies; part of your Title II Social Security benefits may be withheld to pay child support, alimony, or court ordered victim restitution; and/or part of your Title II Social Security benefits may be withheld to pay your debt to the IRS.

Total additions.

The figure shown here is the sum of the amounts paid by check or direct deposit plus all the additions described previously.

Subtractions.

The following adjustment items may have been included in the payments you received in 2018. If amounts appear on your Form SSA-1099 next to these items, they will be subtracted from the figure in Total Additions.

Payments for months before December 1983.

The figure shown here is the amount of benefits you received in 2018 that was for months before December 1983. These benefits aren’t taxable no matter when they are paid.

Lump-sum death payment.

The lump-sum death payment isn’t subject to tax. An entry here means you received this kind of payment in 2018.

Amounts refunded to you.

The amount shown here may include Medicare premiums you paid in excess of the amount actually due. It also may include amounts withheld in 2018 to pay your attorney in excess of the fee actually paid.

Nontaxable payments.

This entry shows nontaxable payments such as lump-sum death payments.

Amounts paid to you for other family members.

This entry shows benefit payments paid to you on behalf of a minor child or disabled adult.

Total subtractions.

The figure shown here is the sum of all the subtractions described previously.

Benefits for 2018.

The amount shown here is the result of subtracting the figure in Total subtractions , earlier, from the figure in Total additions , earlier. This amount is the same as that shown in box 3.

*Box 3 includes $ paid in 2018 for 2017, 2016, and other tax years.

The figure shown here is the amount of any lump-sum benefit payment received in 2018 that is for an earlier year after 1983. See Lump-Sum Election , earlier, for a full discussion on how these payments are handled.

Box 4—Benefits Repaid to SSA in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the total amount of benefits you repaid to the SSA in 2018.

Description of Amount in Box 4

This part of the form describes the items included in the amount shown in box 4. It lists the amount of benefit checks you returned to the SSA and any adjustments for other types of repayments. The amounts listed include all amounts repaid in 2018, no matter when the benefits were received. Only the repayments that apply to you will be shown. If you didn’t make any repayments, the word "none" will be shown.

Checks returned to the SSA.

If any of your benefit checks were returned to the SSA, the total is shown here.

Deductions for work or other adjustments.

If any amounts were withheld from your benefits because of work or to recover an overpayment of retirement, survivors, or disability benefits, the total will be shown here. This also may be shown as Deductions for work or other adjustments under Description of Amount in Box 3, earlier.

Other repayments.

This is the amount you repaid to the SSA by direct remittance.

Benefits repaid to the SSA in 2018.

The amount shown here is the sum of all your repayments. This total is the same as that shown in box 4.

Box 5—Net Benefits for 2018 (Box 3 minus Box 4)

The figure in this box is the net benefits paid to you for the year. It is the result of subtracting the figure in box 4 from the figure in box 3. Enter this amount on line A of IRS Notice 703, or on line 1 of Worksheet 1, shown earlier, or on the worksheet in the Form 1040 instructions.

If parentheses are around the figure in box 5, it means that the figure in box 4 is larger than the figure in box 3. This is a negative figure and means you repaid more money than you received in 2018. If you have any questions about this negative figure, contact your local SSA office. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits , earlier.

Box 6—Voluntary Federal Income Tax Withheld

This shows the total amount of federal income tax withheld from your benefits. Include this amount on your income tax return as tax withheld.

Form SSA-1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement 2018 (Nonresident Aliens)

 

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Form SSA-1042S--Social Security Benefit Statement 2018

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This form is for nonresident aliens. It contains the following four additional items that don’t appear on Form SSA-1099.

Box 6—Rate of Tax

This is the rate at which tax was withheld from 85% of your benefits. If tax was withheld at more than one rate during the year, the percentage shown will be the tax rate in December 2018. The tax rate for most nonresident aliens is 30%. If you are a resident of Switzerland, your total benefit amount will be taxed at a 15% rate. The figure "0" will appear in this box if you were not taxed in December or if you were exempt under a tax treaty. Benefits received by residents of Canada, Egypt, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Romania, and the United Kingdom are exempt from U.S. tax.

Under a treaty with India, benefits paid to individuals who are both residents and nationals of India are exempt from U.S. tax if the benefits are for services performed for the United States, its subdivisions, or local government authorities. See Pub. 519 for more information on nonresident aliens.

Box 7—Amount of Tax Withheld

This is the amount of tax taken out of your social security checks. Tax is withheld for any month in which you were a nonresident alien (unless you were exempt under a tax treaty).

Box 8—Amount of Tax Refunded

An amount in this block shows any tax the SSA refunded to you. When the SSA withholds tax from your checks by mistake, they try to return it to you during the same calendar year. If the SSA is unable to send the refund to you before the year ends, you must file a federal income tax return to get a refund of this tax.

Box 9—Net Tax Withheld During 2018 (Box 7 minus Box 8)

The figure in this box is the result of subtracting the figure in box 8 from the figure in box 7. This is the net amount of tax withheld from your benefits.

Form RRB-1099, Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board 2018

 

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Form RRB-1099 Payments by the Rairoad Retirement Board 2018

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This section explains the items shown on Form RRB-1099. Form RRB-1099 is issued to citizens and residents of the United States. If you received, repaid, or had tax withheld from the social security equivalent benefit (SSEB) portion of tier 1 railroad retirement benefits or special guaranty benefits during 2018, you will receive Form RRB-1099.

If you received, repaid, or had tax withheld from any non-social security equivalent benefit (NSSEB) portion of tier 1, tier 2, vested dual benefits, or supplemental annuity benefits during 2018, you will receive Form RRB-1099-R, Annuities or Pensions by the Railroad Retirement Board. For more information concerning Form RRB-1099-R, see Pub. 575.

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Each beneficiary will receive his or her own Form RRB-1099. If you receive benefits on more than one railroad retirement record, you may get more than one Form RRB-1099. To help ensure that you get your form timely, make sure the RRB always has your current mailing address.

Box 1—Claim Number and Payee Code

Your RRB claim number is a six- or nine-digit number preceded by an alphabetical prefix and is the number under which the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits or special guaranty benefits were paid. Your payee code is the number following your claim number and is used by the RRB to identify you under your claim number. In all your contacts with the RRB, be sure to use the claim number and payee code shown in this box.

Box 2—Recipient's Identification Number

This is the U.S. social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN), if known, for the person or estate listed as the recipient.

Box 3—Gross Social Security Equivalent Benefit Portion of Tier 1 Paid in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the gross SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits or special guaranty benefits paid to you in 2018. It is the amount before any deductions were made for:

  • Federal income tax withholding;

  • Medicare premiums;

  • Legal Process Garnishment payments;

  • Overall minimum assignment payments;

  • Recovery of an overpayment, including recovery of Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act benefits received while awaiting payment of your railroad retirement annuity; and

  • Workers' compensation offset (explained in the description of box 6, later).

The figure in box 3 is the amount after any deductions were made for:

  • Social security benefits,

  • Age reduction,

  • Public service pensions or public disability benefits,

  • Dual railroad retirement entitlement under another RRB claim number,

  • Work deductions,

  • Actuarial adjustment,

  • Annuity waiver, and

  • Legal Process Partition payments.

 

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Social security benefits paid through the RRB aren’t reported on Form RRB-1099 or RRB-1042S. They are reported on Form SSA-1099 or Form SSA-1042S issued by the SSA.

Example 1.

For the period January through March 2018, you received $300 ($100 × 3 months) Railroad Unemployment Insurance. You were eligible for the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $509 a month beginning January 1, 2018, but you didn’t receive your first payment until April 2018. The payment you received in April was for the first 3 months of 2018. However, because you received unemployment benefits during the same period, $300 was deducted from your initial benefit payment. Instead of receiving $1,527 ($509 × 3 months), you received $1,227 ($1,527 − $300). For the months of April through November, you were paid your regular monthly SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $509. Box 3 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $5,599 ($509 × 11 months) as the gross SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits paid to you in 2018, even though you didn’t actually receive that amount. This is because box 3 shows the gross amount of your benefits before any reductions were made for the unemployment benefits paid to you.

Example 2.

You received tier 1 benefits of $600 a month for the months of January 2018 through June 2018. Your $600 monthly tier 1 benefits consist of an SSEB portion of $250 and an NSSEB portion of $350. Beginning in July 2018, you became entitled to Medicare, and $134 a month was deducted from your benefit checks for Medicare premiums. Therefore, the tier 1 payments you received for the rest of the year were $466 ($600 − $134) a month. Box 3 of your Form RRB-1099 will show the gross SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $3,000 ($250 × 12 months), because it’s the gross SSEB amount before deductions for your Medicare premiums. Box 11 of your Form RRB-1099 will show your Medicare premiums of $804 ($134 × 6 months) deducted from July through December 2018. The remainder of your tier 1 payments, the NSSEB portion of $4,200 ($350 × 12 months), will be shown on the Form RRB-1099-R that you will receive along with your Form RRB-1099. The $4,200 is the gross NSSEB amount before deductions for your Medicare premiums. (The Medicare Premium Total box shown on your Form RRB-1099-R will be blank because the Medicare total will be shown in box 11 of your Form RRB-1099.) For more information on Form RRB-1099-R, see Pub. 575.

Benefits paid for earlier years.

The figure in box 3 includes any lump-sum benefit payment you received in 2018 that is for an earlier year after 1983. If you received a payment for an earlier year, it will be shown in box 7, 8, or 9 (described later). See Lump-Sum Election , earlier, for information on how to treat the payment.

Box 4—Social Security Equivalent Benefit Portion of Tier 1 Repaid to RRB in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the total SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB in 2018. You may have repaid a benefit by returning a payment, making a cash refund, or having an amount withheld from your payments. In addition, an amount may have been withheld from your benefits to recover the SSEB overpayment incurred by someone else who also is receiving benefits under your claim number. Also, an amount may have been withheld from another benefit, such as a social security benefit, to recover an SSEB overpayment you received.

The amount in box 4 also includes any SSEB benefits you repaid in 2018 that were for 2018 or for 1 or more years before 2018. All tier 1 repayments for years before 1986 are treated entirely as SSEB benefits.

Example 1.

You returned to work for your last railroad employer for the months of June through August 2018. The SSEB portion of your tier 1 benefits was $450 for each of those months. Since you aren’t allowed to receive benefits for any month you returned to railroad service, you have to make a repayment to the RRB. You returned the benefit payment for June through August 2018. Box 4 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $1,350 ($450 × 3 months) as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Example 2.

From January through April 2018, you were overpaid $800 in the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits. From May through August 2018, $200 a month was withheld from your benefit payment to fully recover the $800 overpayment. Box 4 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $800 ($200 × 4 months) as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Example 3.

As a retired railroad employee, you have been receiving a railroad retirement annuity, including an SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits, since 2017. You also became entitled to, and received from the SSA, a social security benefit of $300 a month beginning May 1, 2018. The SSA later authorized the RRB to pay that benefit. In August 2018, the RRB began paying your social security benefit to you and reduced the SSEB portion of your monthly tier 1 benefit by $300. Social security benefits of $900 ($300 × 3 months) covering the period May through July 2018 were kept by the RRB to offset your $900 SSEB overpayment for that same period. Box 4 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $900 as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Note. The SSA will send you Form SSA-1099, which will include the $900 in benefits paid by them for the months of May through July 2018.

Box 5—Net Social Security Equivalent Benefit Portion of Tier 1 Paid in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the net amount of the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits paid to you in 2018. It is the result of subtracting the amount in box 4 from the amount in box 3. If you received more than one Form RRB-1099 for 2018, you should add the amounts in box 5 of all Forms RRB-1099 to determine your net amount of SSEB payments for 2018. Use this amount to determine if any of your benefits are taxable. See Are Any of Your Benefits Taxable , earlier.

If parentheses are around the figure in box 5, it means that the figure in box 4 is larger than the figure in box 3. This is a negative figure and means you repaid more money than you received in 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits , earlier.

Box 6—Workers' Compensation Offset in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the amount you received in workers' compensation benefits during the year that was used to offset the full amount of your tier 1 payments. The SSEB portions of your tier 1 benefits shown in boxes 3 and 5 include amounts by which your SSEB payments were reduced for workers' compensation benefits. Your workers' compensation amount is shown in this box separately only for your information. If you didn’t receive workers' compensation benefits, box 6 is blank.

Example.

For 2018, your tier 1 benefit of $450 a month is reduced to $400 because of a $50-a-month workers' compensation offset. Boxes 3 and 5 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $5,400 ($450 × 12 months) as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits paid to you by the RRB. The $5,400 is the amount before any deductions were made for the workers' compensation offset. Box 4 will show zero because you didn’t make any repayments during the year. Box 6 of your form will show $600 ($50 workers' compensation × 12 months). In figuring if any of your benefits are taxable, you must use $5,400 (box 5) as the amount of the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits paid to you.

Boxes 7 and 8—Social Security Equivalent Benefit Portion of Tier 1 Paid for 2017 or 2016

The figure shown in each applicable box is the amount of SSEB benefits paid to you in 2018 that was for 2017 or 2016. This amount is included in the amount shown in box 3.

Box 9—Social Security Equivalent Benefit Portion of Tier 1 Paid for Years Prior to 2016

The figure shown in this box is the amount of SSEB benefits paid to you in 2018 that was for 2015 and earlier years after 1983. This amount is included in the amount shown in box 3. Any tier 1 benefit paid for a period before 1986 is treated as SSEB.

Box 10—Federal Income Tax Withheld

The figure shown in this box is the total amount of U.S. federal income tax withheld on your 2018 tier 1 SSEB or special guaranty benefit payments. This total is based on the amount of SSEB tax withholding requested on IRS Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request. Include this amount on your income tax return as tax withheld.

Box 11—Medicare Premium Total

This is the total amount of Part B, Part C, and/or Part D Medicare premiums deducted from your railroad retirement annuity payments shown on your Form RRB-1099.

Form RRB-1042S, Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board 2018 (Nonresident Aliens)

 

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Form RRB-1042S Payments by the Railroad Retirement Board 2018

Please click here for the text description of the image.

 

This form is for nonresident aliens. It has undergone recent revisions.

Note.

If your country of legal residence changed or your tax withholding rate changed during the year, you may receive more than one Form RRB-1042S. To determine your total amounts for the year, you should add the amounts shown on all Forms RRB-1042S you received for that year.

Box 1—Income Code

The figure shown in this box indicates the amounts are either SSEB payments or pension payments.

Box 2—Chapter Indicator

The figure shown in this box indicates the amounts on the statement were withheld pursuant to Chapter 3 rules.

Boxes 3 and 4—Chapter 3 or 4 Status Code

The status code shown in each applicable box indicates the RRB is a U.S. withholding agent.

Box 5—Employee Contributions

This is the amount of taxes withheld from your railroad employment earnings that exceeds the amount of taxes that would have been withheld had the earnings been covered under the social security system. The amount shown is your total employee contribution amount attributable to a railroad account number and must be shared by all annuitants eligible to use it. It is the latest amount reported for 2018 and may have increased or decreased from a previous Form RRB-1042S. A change in the amount may affect the nontaxable portion of your contributory amounts paid. You may need to refigure the nontaxable amount and/or file original or amended income tax return(s) using the amount reported on this form. If this box is blank, it means that your contributory amount paid and total gross paid are fully taxable. For more information, see Pub. 575, Pension and Annuity Income and Pub. 939, General Rule for Pensions and Annuities.

Box 6—Claim Number and Payee Code

Your RRB claim number is a six- or nine-digit number preceded by an alphabetical prefix and is the number under which the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits or special guaranty benefits were paid. Your payee code is the number following your claim number and is used by the RRB to identify you under your claim number. In all your contacts with the RRB, be sure to use the claim number and payee code shown in this box.

Box 7—Recipient’s U.S. Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN)

This is the U.S. social security number (SSN), individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN), or employer identification number (EIN), if known, for the person or estate listed as the recipient.

Box 8—Recipient’s Chapter 3 Status Code

The status code shown in this box indicates the amounts on the form were paid to an individual.

Box 9—Recipient’s Date of Birth

The date of birth of the recipient.

Box 10—Gross Benefit Paid in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the total amount of benefits paid to you in 2018. It includes any benefits paid in 2018 that were for prior years. It is the amount before any deductions were made for:

  • Federal income tax withholding;

  • Medicare premiums;

  • Legal Process Garnishment payments;

  • Overall minimum assignment payments;

  • Recovery of an overpayment, including recovery of Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act benefits received while awaiting payment of your railroad retirement annuity; and

  • Workers’ compensation offset.

 

The figure in box 10 is the amount after any deductions were made for:

  • Social security benefits,

  • Age reduction,

  • Public service pensions or public disability benefits,

  • Dual railroad retirement entitlement under another RRB claim number,

  • Work deductions,

  • Actuarial adjustment,

  • Annuity waiver, and

  • Legal Process Partition payments.

 

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Social security benefits paid through the RRB aren’t reported on Form RRB-1099 or RRB-1042S. They are reported on Form SSA-1099 or Form SSA-1042S issued by the SSA.

Example 1.

For the period January through March 2018, you received $300 ($100 × 3 months) Railroad Unemployment Insurance. You were eligible for the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $509 a month beginning January 1, 2018, but you didn’t receive your first payment until April 2018. The payment you received in April was for the first 3 months of 2018. However, because you received unemployment benefits during the same period, $300 was deducted from your initial benefit payment. Instead of receiving $1,527 ($509 × 3 months), you received $1,227 ($1,527 − $300). For the months of April through November, you were paid your regular monthly SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $509. Box 10 of your Form RRB-1042S will show $5,599 ($509 × 11 months) as the gross SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits paid to you in 2018, even though you didn’t actually receive that amount. This is because box 10 shows the gross amount of your benefits before any reductions were made for the unemployment benefits paid to you.

Example 2.

You received tier 1 benefits of $600 a month for the months of January through June 2018. Your $600 monthly tier 1 benefits consist of an SSEB portion of $250 and an NSSEB portion of $350. Beginning in July 2018, you became entitled to Medicare, and $134 a month was deducted from your benefit checks for Medicare premiums. Therefore, the tier 1 payments you received for the rest of the year were $466 ($600 − $134) a month. Box 10 of your Form RRB-1042S will show the gross SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits of $3,000 ($250 × 12 months), because it’s the gross SSEB amount before deductions for your Medicare premiums. Box 17 of your Form RRB-1042S will show your Medicare premiums of $804 ($134 × 6 months) deducted from July through December 2018. The remainder of your tier 1 payments, the NSSEB portion of $4,200 ($350 × 12 months), will be shown on the Form RRB-1099-R that you will receive along with your Form RRB-1042S. The $4,200 is the gross NSSEB amount before deductions for your Medicare premiums. (The Medicare Premium Total box shown on your Form RRB-1099-R will be blank because the Medicare total will be shown in box 17 of your Form RRB-1042S.) For more information on Form RRB-1042S, see Pub. 575.

Benefits paid for earlier years.

The figure in box 10 includes any lump-sum benefit payment you received in 2018 that is for an earlier year after 1983. See Lump-Sum Election , earlier, for information on how to treat the payment.

Box 11—Benefit Repaid to RRB in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the total amount of benefits you repaid to the RRB in 2018 including any benefits you repaid in 2018 for prior years. You may have repaid a benefit by returning a payment, by making a cash refund, or by having an amount withheld from your annuity for overpayment recovery purposes. In addition, an amount may have been withheld from your benefits to recover an overpayment incurred by someone else who also is receiving benefits under your claim number.

The amount in box 11 also includes any SSEB benefits you repaid in 2018 that were for 2018 or for 1 or more years before 2018. All tier 1 repayments for years before 1986 are treated entirely as SSEB benefits.

Example 1.

You returned to work for your last railroad employer for the months of June through August 2018. The SSEB portion of your tier 1 benefits was $450 for each of those months. Since you aren’t allowed to receive benefits for any month you returned to railroad service, you have to make a repayment to the RRB. You returned the benefit payment for June through August 2018. Box 4 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $1,350 ($450 × 3 months) as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Example 2.

From January through April 2018, you were overpaid $800 in the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits. From May through August 2018, $200 a month was withheld from your benefit payment to fully recover the $800 overpayment. Box 4 of your Form RRB-1099 will show $800 ($200 × 4 months) as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Example 3.

As a retired railroad employee, you have been receiving a railroad retirement annuity, including an SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits, since 2017. You also became entitled to, and received from the SSA, a social security benefit of $300 a month beginning May 1, 2018. The SSA later authorized the RRB to pay that benefit. In August 2018, the RRB began paying your social security benefit to you and reduced the SSEB portion of your monthly tier 1 benefit by $300. Social security benefits of $900 ($300 × 3 months) covering the period May through July 2018 were kept by the RRB to offset your $900 SSEB overpayment for that same period. Box 11 of your Form RRB-1042S will show $900 as the SSEB portion of tier 1 benefits you repaid to the RRB.

Note. The SSA will send you Form SSA-1099, which will include the $900 in benefits paid by them for the months of May through July 2018.

Box 12—Net Benefit Paid in 2018

The figure shown in this box is the net amount of benefits paid to you in 2018. It is the result of subtracting the amount in box 11 from the amount in box 10. If you received more than one Form RRB-1042S for 2018, you should add the amounts in box 12 of all Forms RRB-1042S to determine your net amount payments for 2018. Use this amount to determine if any of your benefits are taxable. See Are Any of Your Benefits Taxable , earlier.

If parentheses are around the figure in box 12, it means that the figure in box 11 is larger than the figure in box 10. This is a negative figure and means you repaid more money than you received in 2018. For more information, see Repayments More Than Gross Benefits , earlier.

Box 13—Federal Tax Withheld

The figure shown in this box is the total amount of U.S. Federal income tax withheld from your benefits in 2018 while you were a known or assumed resident for tax purposes of the country shown in Box 14. If no taxes were withheld, -0- will be shown in this box. If you received more than one Form RRB-1042S for 2018, add the amounts in box 13 of all Forms RRB-1042S to determine your total amount of U.S. federal income tax withheld from SSEB payments for 2018. Tax is withheld for any month in which you were a nonresident alien (unless you claimed exemption under a tax treaty).

Box 14—Country

The country where you maintain your legal residence is shown in this box. If you maintained legal residence in more than one country during the year, you will receive a separate Form RRB-1042S for each country of legal residence during the year.

Box 15—Tax Rate

The figure shown in this box is the rate at which U.S. Federal income tax was withheld from the benefits shown on this Form RRB-1042S. If tax was withheld at more than one rate during the year, you will receive a separate Form RRB-1042S for each rate change during the year. The tax rate for most nonresident aliens is 30%. The figure "0%" or "15%" may appear in this box if you claimed a tax treaty exemption by filing Form RRB-1001 with the RRB. For more information, see Nonresident aliens , earlier, under Are Any of Your Benefits Taxable .

Box 16—Exemption Code

If a figure is shown in this box, it indicates a reduction in the applicable nonresident alien tax rate due to a treaty exemption.

Box 17—Medicare Premium Total

This is the total amount of Part B, Part C, and/or Part D Medicare premiums deducted from your railroad retirement annuity payments shown on your Form RRB-1042S.

See Pub. 519 for more information on nonresident aliens.

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You should contact your nearest RRB field office (if you reside in the United States) or U.S. consulate/embassy (if you reside outside of the United States) for assistance with your RRB tax statement inquiries. If you are in the United States or Canada, you can call the RRB toll free at 877-772-5772. You also can visit them at RRB.gov. If you have any questions about how to figure your taxable payments or what amounts to show on your income tax returns, contact the IRS.

How To Get Tax Help

If you have questions about a tax issue, need help preparing your tax return, or want to download free publications, forms, or instructions, go to IRS.gov and find resources that can help you right away.

Tax Reform.

Major tax reform legislation impacting individuals, businesses, and tax-exempt entities was enacted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017. Go to IRS.gov/TaxReform for information and updates on how this legislation affects your taxes.

Preparing and filing your tax return.

Find free options to prepare and file your return on IRS.gov or in your local community if you qualify.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $55,000 or less, persons with disabilities, and limited-English-speaking taxpayers who need help preparing their own tax returns. The Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) program offers free tax help for all taxpayers, particularly those who are 60 years of age and older. TCE volunteers specialize in answering questions about pensions and retirement-related issues unique to seniors.

You can go to IRS.gov to see your options for preparing and filing your return which include the following.

 

  • Free File. Go to IRS.gov/FreeFile to see if you qualify to use brand-name software to prepare and e-file your federal tax return for free.

  • VITA. Go to IRS.gov/VITA, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 800-906-9887 to find the nearest VITA location for free tax return preparation.

  • TCE. Go to IRS.gov/TCE, download the free IRS2Go app, or call 888-227-7669 to find the nearest TCE location for free tax return preparation.

 

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Getting answers to your tax questions. On IRS.gov, get answers to your tax questions anytime, anywhere.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Help for a variety of tools that will help you get answers to some of the most common tax questions.

  • Go to IRS.gov/ITA for the Interactive Tax Assistant, a tool that will ask you questions on a number of tax law topics and provide answers. You can print the entire interview and the final response for your records.

  • Go to IRS.gov/Pub17 to get Pub. 17, Your Federal Income Tax for Individuals, which features details on tax-saving opportunities, 2018 tax changes, and thousands of interactive links to help you find answers to your questions. View it online in HTML, as a PDF, or download it to your mobile device as an eBook.

  • You may also be able to access tax law information in your electronic filing software.

 

Getting tax forms and publications.

Go to IRS.gov/Forms to view, download, or print all of the forms and publications you may need. You can also download and view popular tax publications and instructions (including the 1040 instructions) on mobile devices as an eBook at no charge. Or you can go to IRS.gov/OrderForms to place an order and have forms mailed to you within 10 business days.

Access your online account (individual taxpayers only).

Go to IRS.gov/Account to securely access information about your federal tax account.

  • View the amount you owe, pay online, or set up an online payment agreement.

  • Access your tax records online.

  • Review the past 24 months of your payment history.

  • Go to IRS.gov/SecureAccess to review the required identity authentication process.

 

Using direct deposit.

The fastest way to receive a tax refund is to combine direct deposit and IRS e-file. Direct deposit securely and electronically transfers your refund directly into your financial account. Eight in 10 taxpayers use direct deposit to receive their refund. The IRS issues more than 90% of refunds in less than 21 days.

Refund timing for returns claiming certain credits.

The IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2019 for returns that claimed the earned income credit (EIC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC). This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

Getting a transcript or copy of a return.

The quickest way to get a copy of your tax transcript is to go to IRS.gov/Transcripts. Click on either "Get Transcript Online" or "Get Transcript by Mail" to order a copy of your transcript. If you prefer, you can:

  • Order your transcript by calling 800-908-9946, or

  • Mail Form 4506-T or Form 4506T-EZ (both available on IRS.gov).

 

Using online tools to help prepare your return.

Go to IRS.gov/Tools for the following.

 

Resolving tax-related identity theft issues.

 

  • The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email or telephone to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.

  • Go to IRS.gov/IDProtection for information.

  • If your SSN has been lost or stolen or you suspect you’re a victim of tax-related identity theft, visit IRS.gov/IdentityTheft to learn what steps you should take.

 

Checking on the status of your refund.

 

  • Go to IRS.gov/Refunds.

  • The IRS can’t issue refunds before mid-February 2019, for returns that claimed the EIC or the ACTC. This applies to the entire refund, not just the portion associated with these credits.

  • Download the official IRS2Go app to your mobile device to check your refund status.

  • Call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954.

 

Making a tax payment.

The IRS uses the latest encryption technology to ensure your electronic payments are safe and secure. You can make electronic payments online, by phone, and from a mobile device using the IRS2Go app. Paying electronically is quick, easy, and faster than mailing in a check or money order. Go to IRS.gov/Payments to make a payment using any of the following options.

  • IRS Direct Pay: Pay your individual tax bill or estimated tax payment directly from your checking or savings account at no cost to you.

  • Debit or credit card: Choose an approved payment processor to pay online, by phone, and by mobile device.

  • Electronic Funds Withdrawal: Offered only when filing your federal taxes using tax return preparation software or through a tax professional.

  • Electronic Federal Tax Payment System: Best option for businesses. Enrollment is required.

  • Check or money order: Mail your payment to the address listed on the notice or instructions.

  • Cash: You may be able to pay your taxes with cash at a participating retail store.

 

What if I can’t pay now?

Go to IRS.gov/Payments for more information about your options.

  • Apply for an online payment agreement (IRS.gov/OPA) to meet your tax obligation in monthly installments if you can’t pay your taxes in full today. Once you complete the online process, you will receive immediate notification of whether your agreement has been approved.

  • Use the Offer in Compromise Pre-Qualifier (IRS.gov/OIC) to see if you can settle your tax debt for less than the full amount you owe.

 

Checking the status of an amended return.

Go to IRS.gov/WMAR to track the status of Form 1040X amended returns. Please note that it can take up to 3 weeks from the date you mailed your amended return for it to show up in our system and processing it can take up to 16 weeks.

Understanding an IRS notice or letter.

Go to IRS.gov/Notices to find additional information about responding to an IRS notice or letter.

Contacting your local IRS office.

Keep in mind, many questions can be answered on IRS.gov without visiting an IRS Tax Assistance Center (TAC). Go to IRS.gov/LetUsHelp for the topics people ask about most. If you still need help, IRS TACs provide tax help when a tax issue can’t be handled online or by phone. All TACs now provide service by appointment so you’ll know in advance that you can get the service you need without long wait times. Before you visit, go to IRS.gov/TACLocator to find the nearest TAC, check hours, available services, and appointment options. Or, on the IRS2Go app, under the Stay Connected tab, choose the Contact Us option and click on “Local Offices.”

Watching IRS videos.

The IRS Video portal (IRSvideos.gov) contains video and audio presentations for individuals, small businesses, and tax professionals.

Getting tax information in other languages.

For taxpayers whose native language isn’t English, we have the following resources available. Taxpayers can find information on IRS.gov in the following languages.

 

The IRS TACs provide over-the-phone interpreter service in over 170 languages, and the service is available free to taxpayers.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) Is Here To Help You

What is TAS?

TAS is an independent organization within the IRS that helps taxpayers and protects taxpayer rights. Their job is to ensure that every taxpayer is treated fairly and that you know and understand your rights under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

How Can You Learn About Your Taxpayer Rights?

The Taxpayer Bill of Rights describes 10 basic rights that all taxpayers have when dealing with the IRS. Go to TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov to help you understand what these rights mean to you and how they apply. These are your rights. Know them. Use them.

What Can TAS Do For You?

TAS can help you resolve problems that you can’t resolve with the IRS. And their service is free. If you qualify for their assistance, you will be assigned to one advocate who will work with you throughout the process and will do everything possible to resolve your issue. TAS can help you if:

  • Your problem is causing financial difficulty for you, your family, or your business;

  • You face (or your business is facing) an immediate threat of adverse action; or

  • You’ve tried repeatedly to contact the IRS but no one has responded, or the IRS hasn’t responded by the date promised.

 

How Can You Reach TAS?

TAS has offices in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Your local advocate’s number is in your local directory and at TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/Contact-Us. You can also call them at 877-777-4778.

How Else Does TAS Help Taxpayers?

TAS works to resolve large-scale problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to them at IRS.gov/SAMS.

TAS also has a website, Tax Reform Changes, which shows you how the new tax law may change your future tax filings and helps you plan for these changes. The information is categorized by tax topic in the order of the IRS Form 1040. Go to TaxChanges.us for more information.

Low Income Taxpayer Clinics (LITCs)

LITCs are independent from the IRS. LITCs represent individuals whose income is below a certain level and need to resolve tax problems with the IRS, such as audits, appeals, and tax collection disputes. In addition, clinics can provide information about taxpayer rights and responsibilities in different languages for individuals who speak English as a second language. Services are offered for free or a small fee. To find a clinic near you, visit TaxpayerAdvocate.IRS.gov/LITCmap or see IRS Pub. 4134, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic List.

Publication 915 - Additional Material

Index

A

Assistance (see Tax help)

B

Base amount, Base amount.

C

Canadian social security benefits, Canadian or German social security benefits paid to U.S. residents.
Children's benefits, Children's benefits.
Comments on publication, Comments and suggestions.

D

Deductions related to benefits, Deductions Related to Your Benefits
$3,000.01 or more, Deduction more than $3,000.
Disability benefits repaid, Disability payments.

J

Joint returns, Joint return.

L

Lump-sum election, Lump-Sum Election
Example, Example

M

Missing children, photographs of, Reminders
my Social Security account, Reminders

P

Permanent resident aliens, Lawful permanent residents.
Publications (see Tax help)

R

Railroad retirement benefits,
Repayments
Benefits received in earlier year, Repayment of benefits., Repayment of benefits received in an earlier year.
Disability benefits, Disability payments.
Gross benefits, Repayment of benefits., Repayments More Than Gross Benefits
Reporting requirements, How To Report Your Benefits
Lump-sum payment, Lump-sum payment reported on Form SSA-1099 or RRB-1099.

S

Social Security benefits,
Suggestions for publication, Comments and suggestions.

T

Tax help, How To Get Tax Help
Taxable benefits
Determination of, Are Any of Your Benefits Taxable?, How Much Is Taxable?
Maximum taxable part, Maximum taxable part.
Person receiving benefits determines, Who is taxed.
Worksheets
Examples, Examples, Worksheets
Quick calculation, sample, Worksheet A. A Quick Way To Check if Your Benefits May Be Taxable
Which to use, Which worksheet to use.
Total income, figuring, Figuring total income.

U

U.S. citizens residing abroad, U.S. citizens residing abroad.
U.S. residents
Canadian or German social security benefits paid to, Canadian or German social security benefits paid to U.S. residents.