Social Security Benefits: What Will (and Won’t) Get Taxed From Your Monthly Check

Financial advisor explaining paperwork to elderly retired couple front of desk.
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According to the IRS, your Social Security benefits may be taxable if the total of one-half of your benefits plus all of your other income is greater than the threshold amount for your filing status. Other income includes pensions, wages, interest, dividends and capital gains. Social Security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits.

The thresholds are:

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

You’ll be taxed on 50% of your Social Security benefits if your income is between $25,000 and $34,000 for an individual or $32,000 and $44,000 for a married couple filing jointly. You’ll be taxed on 85% of your Social Security benefits if your income is more than $34,000 for an individual or $44,000 if you’re married filing jointly. You’ll be taxed on all your benefits if you’re married and file a separate return.

Are You Retirement Ready?

The Social Security Administration estimates that about 56% of Social Security recipients owe income taxes on their benefits, AARP reports, but recipients will never have to pay taxes on more than 85% of their Social Security benefits. 

AARP added that while this relates to federal taxes, these thirteen states tax Social Security benefits to varying degrees and may have their own deductions and exemptions based on age or income: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, North Dakota, Vermont, Utah and West Virginia.

If your child receives Social Security dependent or survivor benefits, those payments don’t count towards your taxable income. Supplemental Security Income payments are also not taxable. 

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