Social Security and Taxes: What You Need to Know

woman smiles behind fan of money over blue background with social security card

Both Social Security and taxes can be difficult to understand, so we’ve made a list of frequently asked questions to help guide you.

1. Is my Social Security income taxable?

That depends on your total income and how you file your taxes. If you file as an individual and your combined income exceeds $25,000, you will need to pay taxes. If you filed a joint return and you and your spouse have a combined income of more than $32,000, you will need to pay taxes. You will also need to pay taxes if you are married and file a separate return.

2. Can I have income taxes withheld from my Social Security benefits?

Yes, you can ask the IRS to withhold funds from your Social Security benefits and credit them toward your federal taxes.

3. What is this year’s maximum amount of taxable earnings for Social Security

The maximum amount of taxable earnings for 2018 is $128,4000.

4. How can I get a form SSA-1099/1042S, Social Security Benefit Statement?

If you receive Social Security benefits, you can expect to receive an SSA-1099 at the beginning of each year. This will show your total benefits from the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report on your taxes. If you have not received an SSA-1099, you can contact your local Social Security office, or use your my Social Security account to access the file.

5. Do I need to pay Social Security taxes on my earnings after full retirement age?

Yes, you must pay income taxes regardless of age or eligibility for Social Security benefit unless you qualify for religious exemption.

6. Can I be exempt from paying Social Security taxes?

Certain religious groups may be exempt from paying Social Security taxes, including the Amish and Mennonites. To be exempt you must 1) waive rights to all Social Security benefits, including hospital benefits, 2) be a member of a religious sect that provides food, shelter, and medical care, and 3) have never received Social Security benefits.

For more information about Social Security and taxes, visit the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To see which states are the most tax friendly for seniors, click here


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