There are some scenarios in which Social Security benefits are taxed. If Social Security payments were your only income for the year, then you will not be taxed by the IRS. However, if you have additional earnings — from a part-time job, for example — and the combination exceeds $25,000 a year for individuals ($32,000 a year for couples filing jointly), you will need to pay federal taxes on Social Security.
If you often find yourself owing taxes at the end of the year, or you’re concerned that you could owe next tax season, especially in light of this year’s COLA increase, you can have federal taxes withheld from each payment. You aren’t required to have federal income tax withheld and can instead make estimated quarterly payments, but having taxes withheld from every benefit check can help you plan ahead and avoid a surprise tax bill come April.
To do so, you’ll need to fill out Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, and indicate how much you want withheld.
Here’s how you fill out Form W-4V:
- Add your name, address and Social Security number on lines 1-3. For line 3, if you live outside the U.S., add the city, state or province and your country along with the postal code.
- Fill in your claim number on line 4. This is the number you were assigned by the Social Security Administration when you began receiving benefits. If you are unsure about what number to use, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to get clarification.
- Skip line 5, which applies to unemployment benefits only.
- On line 6, select the amount of tax you want withheld from Social Security payments. The choices are 7%, 10%, 12% or 22% of the payment amount.
- You’ll only need to fill out line 7 if you want to stop withholding taxes from your payments.
- Sign and date the form, and file it with your local Social Security office. You can find a list of local offices here. A local Social Security representative can tell you when the withholding will start.
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You can fill out this same form in the future if your situation changes and you want to amend the request by selecting a different withholding amount or discontinuing the withholding.
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