Wednesday, June 15, 2022

# What Is Taxable Social Security Income

## Calculating Fica Taxes: An Example

Is Social Security Taxable?

An employee who makes \$165,240 a year collects semi-monthly paychecks of \$6,885 before taxes and any retirement-plan withholding. Though Medicare tax is due on the entire salary, only the first \$147,000 is subject to the Social Security tax for 2021. Since \$147,000 divided by \$6,885 is 21.3, this threshold is reached after the 22nd paycheck.

For the first 21 pay periods, therefore, the total FICA tax withholding is equal to + , or \$526.70. Only the Medicare HI tax is applicable to the remaining three pay periods, so the withholding is reduced to \$6,885 x 1.45%, or \$99.83. In total, the employee pays \$8,964.27 to Social Security and \$2,395.98 to Medicare each year. Though it does not affect the employee’s take-home pay, the employer must contribute the same amount to both programs.

As mentioned above, those who are self-employed are considered both the employer and the employee for tax purposes, meaning they are liable for both contributions. In the example above, a self-employed person with the same salary pays \$17,928.54 to Social Security and \$4,791.96 to Medicare.

## Social Security Tax Rate

Employers used a rate of 12.4% in 2017, where the employee contributes half . The tax is assessed on all types of income: wages, salaries, and bonuses with an income limit of \$127,000. However, when it comes to self-employed people, the IRS regards them as both the employer and employee hence liable for the whole 12.4% social security tax.

If the retiree earns an income that exceeds the annual earnings limit, then the social security benefits are reduced until they attain the full retirement age.

## How Do I Calculate My Taxable Social Security Benefits

To calculate whether you will be called to pay taxes on your social security benefits you will need to follow a simple step and fill out a simple equation. Adding up your income from all sources with 50% of your Social Security Benefits will give you the amount that is known as your combined income. If that combined income is above the limit that the IRS sets, then you will be made to pay taxes on a part of your social security benefits. What part of them that will be will depend on your specific situation.

• \$25,000 for single filers
• \$32,000 for joint filers

To try and determine the taxable social security benefits that you will be receiving you can use an online calculator. By adding all of your information there you will be able to see how much of the amount that you are getting is going to be taxed.

Also Check: How Much Does Social Security Take Out Of My Check

## The Future Of Social Security Taxation

There have been a few proposals to eliminate the taxation of Social Security benefits, but with a looming shortfall in 2034, dont hold your breath for any proposal succeeding that would reduce revenues for the SSA. Taxes on Social Security benefits are probably here to stay.

Instead of waiting on the unlikely elimination of these taxes, start building a plan to potentially reduce or eliminate these taxes.

A Roth IRA is a good place to start. It is probably the most valuable tool for minimizing Social Security taxes. Why? Roth distributions are not included in your combined income!

If you think you may eventually be subject to taxes on your Social Security benefit, consider building a pool of money in your Roth account. You may be able to contribute to a Roth IRA up to \$6,000 .

Check with your retirement plan at work, as well, to see if they offer a Roth option. Using a Roth in 2022 will allow you to put in up to \$20,500 per year .

Finally, you may want to consider converting traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs. Theres certainly a lot to consider when doing so, but since the tax benefits could extend beyond the tax free nature of the Roth, this could be a winning move.

## No Tax Changes From 2021

No state has changed its treatment of Social Security income since last year, says Jared Walczak, vice president of state projects for the nonpartisan Tax Foundation, an independent tax policy research organization.

“As for rates, Missouri is in the process of reducing its individual income tax rates,” Walczak said. “And while they haven’t confirmed this yet, they are likely to trigger a reduction of the top rate to 5.3% for this year. Nebraska is reducing its top rate to 7.5% above \$100,000 in income, which will be relevant because only single filers with less than \$43,000 in adjusted gross income can subtract Social Security income. All other rates in these states remain identical to last year.”

## Know The Earnings Limits

Those hoping to work in retirement need to be especially careful if they’re planning to claim Social Security benefits early. Even if youâre just working part-time, itâs important to consider how that continuing income will affect your benefits.

The SSA caps how much you are allowed to earn if you start taking your benefits before full retirement age, which is 66 for most baby boomers. In 2021, the annual earned income cap is \$18,960, and for every \$2 you earn over that limit, the SSA withholds \$1 off the top of your benefits. So if you earn \$20,960 this year and you haven’t yet reached the year you will turn full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced by \$1,000âon top of any income taxes you may have to pay on the remaining benefits. Once you reach the year that you’ll turn full retirement age, the earned income cap goes up to \$50,520 and for every \$3 you go over, it’s a \$1 withholding.

There is some good news, however: Because the penalty is determined by your individual earned income, if you retire early but your spouse doesn’t, your spouse’s earned income will not be factored into the earnings limit. Additionally, when you reach your full retirement age, the earnings limit disappears and Social Security will recalculate your benefit amount if you were negatively impacted by the earnings limit.

## Social Securitys Taxable Payroll Lags Behind Compensation

Social Securitys income comes primarily from payroll taxes. Workers and their employers pay a combined 12.4 percent of earnings up to a cap, which in 2016 is \$118,500 of a workers wages. Social Security benefits, as well, are based on earnings up to that cap. The benefit formula is progressive, which means that it replaces the first dollar of earnings more generously than the last dollar of earnings.

The proportion of employees compensation subject to Social Security payroll taxes has shrunk significantly since policymakers last addressed Social Securitys solvency, as Figure 2 shows. In 1983, nearly three-quarters of employees compensation was subject to Social Security payroll taxes in 2015, less than two-thirds was. Two of the major reasons for the lagging tax base are increased wage inequality and the rising share of employee compensation that goes to health care coverage.

Rising health care costs have also hurt Social Securitys finances. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance are exempt from Social Security taxes. As health care costs have risen, wages have fallen as a share of employees compensation, while health premiums have risen, nearly doubling as a share of total compensation over the past 30 years. This shift comes at a cost to Social Security. Excluding employer-sponsored health insurance premiums from Social Security payroll taxes cost about \$100 billion in forgone payroll taxes in 2015, and will cost about \$1.25 trillion over ten years .

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## How Much Of Your Benefits Are Taxable

The amount of Social Security benefits that are taxable depend on the extent to which your income plus half of your benefits exceed certain base amounts. There are 2 possibilities:

• 50% of benefits taxed. This is the amount of benefits that will be taxed if your income plus half of your benefits exceeds these base amounts:
• \$25,000 if single, head of household or qualifying widow
• \$25,000 if married, filing separate and lived apart from spouse all of the tax year
• \$32,000 if married, filing jointly
• NOTE: These base amounts are the same ones described earlier.
• 85% of benefits taxed. This is the amount of benefits that will be taxed if your income plus half your benefits exceeds these adjusted base amounts:
• \$34,000 if single, head of household or qualifying widow
• \$34,000 if married, filing separate, and lived apart from spouse for entire year
• \$44,000 if married, filing jointly
• \$0.00 if married, filing separate and lived with spouse at any time
• .
• NOTE: The adjusted base amount essentially allows the IRS to tax more of your Social Security benefits as income goes up.

## The Social Security Tax Wage Base

Tax Questions: Is Social Security and disability income taxable?

All wages and self-employment income up to the Social Security wage base are subject to the 12.4% Social Security tax. The wage base is adjusted periodically to keep pace with inflation. It was increased from \$132,900 to \$137,700 in 2020 and to \$142,800 for 2021. Here’s how it broke down year by year from 2012 to 2021:

Social Security Wage Base by Year
2021

Read Also: When Do You Get Social Security Payments

## Increasing Payroll Taxes Would Strengthen Social Security

Social Security faces a significant though manageable long-term funding shortfall, which policymakers should address primarily by increasing Social Securitys tax revenues. If policymakers elect to reduce Social Security benefits, those cuts will need to be limited and carefully targeted to avoid causing significant hardship. Moreover, the cuts will almost certainly be phased in slowly, which means they could not produce significant savings for many years. Increasing Social Securitys revenues will be necessary.

Social Securitys tax base has eroded since the last time policymakers addressed solvency.Boosting Social Securitys payroll tax revenue also is justified by recent trends: Social Securitys tax base has eroded since the last time policymakers addressed solvency in 1983, largely due to increased inequality and the rising cost of non-taxed fringe benefits, such as health insurance. And it enjoys broad support: the majority of Americans oppose cuts to Social Security and support strengthening the program by contributing more in taxes.

This paper presents three approaches to increasing payroll taxes that would improve the programs solvency:

## Are Your Social Security Benefits Taxable

If your only income for the year was Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits, those benefits will generally not be taxed. However, since very few people can survive on that amount of income, chances are you have other sources that may result in your Social Security benefits being partially taxed.

These are the steps for determining taxability:

• Add up your total income. This includes interest and dividend income, taxable pensions, other investment income, wages from part-time or full-time work plus tax-exempt interest income, excludable interest income from U.S. savings bonds, and excludable foreign-earned income.
• Decide what your base amount is , depending on your filing status:
• \$25,000 if single, head of household or qualifying widow.
• \$25,000 if married, filing separately, and lived apart from your spouse for all of 2008.
• \$32,000 if married, filing jointly.

## What Is The Difference Between Tax

As the names imply, tax-free income is exempt from income tax. So, what is taxable income? Taxable income is considered as the amount of income you have for which you are responsible for paying incomes taxes. You might still be required to show the tax-free income on your tax return even though you will not owe any taxes on it. Some tax-free income is still used to calculate your total income for purposes of calculating your Social Security combined income. Taxable income is any income that is not exempt from IRS tax payments.

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## Uncle Sam Can Tax Up To 85% Of Your Social Security Benefits If You Have Other Sources Of Income Such As Earnings From Work Or Withdrawals From Tax

Many people are surprised to learn that Social Security benefits can be taxed. After all, why is the government sending you a payment one day and asking for some of it back the next? But if you take a closer look at how the federal tax on Social Security is calculated, you’ll see that many people actually don’t pay any tax on their Social Security benefits.

There’s no federal income tax on Social Security benefits for most people who only have income from Social Security. Thanks to the highest cost-of-living adjustment in 40 years, the average monthly Social Security check for a retired worker in 2022 is \$1,658, which comes to \$19,896 per year. That’s well below the minimum amount for taxability at the federal level.

On the other hand, if you do have other taxable income such as from a job, a pension or a traditional IRA then there’s a much better chance that Uncle Sam will take a 50% or 85% bite out of your Social Security check. Plus, depending on where you live, your state might tax a portion of your Social Security benefits, too.

payments sent by the Social Security Administration are not taxable.)

## How Is Social Security Taxed

#### Virtual Financial Advisor | Certified Retirement Counselor® | YouTube & Podcast Host

How is Social Security Taxed || How Much of Your Social Security Income is Taxable

How is Social Security Taxed? What part of my social security income is taxable? These are just a few of the questions I have received lately about the taxability of social security. When you think about your social security benefit, oftentimes you don’t think, “How Much of my social security income is taxable?” No, normally you’re asking questions like, “When should I start social security” or “What is my social security benefit at 62 or 67?” Yes, those are great questions about social security, but I believe the bigger questions about social security are in the amount of taxes you will pay on your social security income.

How do you calculate the taxes on your social security income? Well, in 1994 Congress laid out the income thresholds for how social security would be taxed. These income levels are based on how you file your taxes every year. Also, these income levels are some of the only income thresholds in the IRS code that do not get any type of COLA or inflation bump. Below are the social security tax income thresholds:

Single File:

\$32,000-\$44,000-50% Taxed

Over \$44,000-85% Taxed

How do you calculate your social security tax? The IRS uses a formula called provisional income to calculate your social security tax. Provision income is calculated as follows:

Also Check: Does Trump Want To Cut Social Security And Medicare

## How Much Social Security Income Is Taxable

Not all taxpayers are required to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. Typically, only those individuals who have substantial income in addition to their Social Security benefits are required to pay federal income taxes on Social Security Benefits. If you do have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits, you can either make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS or elect to have federal taxes withheld from your benefits.