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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Social Security Income - Back Payments

  1. I received social security benefits this year that were back benefits for prior years. Do I amend my returns for prior years? Are the back benefits paid in this year for past years taxable for this year?

Rev. date: 1/1/2010

I received social security benefits this year that were back benefits for prior years. Do I amend my returns for prior years? Are the back benefits paid in this year for past years taxable for this year?

You cannot amend returns for prior years to reflect social security benefits received this year. You must include the taxable part of a lump-sum payment of benefits received in the current year (reported to you on Form SSA-1099) in your current year's income, even if the payment includes benefits for an earlier year.
However, there are two ways to determine the amount of income to include: