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Frequently Asked Tax Questions

Social Security Income - Regular & Disability Benefits

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

Rev. date: 12/13/2013

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

Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. They do not include supplemental security income (SSI) payments, which are not taxable. The amount of social security benefits that must be included on your income tax return and used to calculate your income tax liability depends on the total amount of your income and benefits for the taxable year.
To find out whether any of your benefits may be taxable, compare the base amount for your filing status with the total of:
The base amount for your filing status is shown next:
If you are married and file a joint return, you and your spouse must combine your incomes and social security benefits when figuring the taxable portion of your benefits.  Even if your spouse did not receive any benefits, you must add your spouse's income to yours when figuring if any of your benefits are taxable, if you file a joint return.
The taxable amount of the benefits can be figured on a worksheet in the Instructions for Form 1040 or Instructions for Form 1040A, or in Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.