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Who Started Taxing Social Security

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Social Security In The Midwest

Good Question: Why Are Social Security Benefits Taxed?

Out in the Midwest, only seven of 12 states are free of Social Security taxes. South Dakota doesn’t have an income tax. Meanwhile, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin have full state income tax protection for those receiving Social Security benefits.

On the other hand, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and North Dakota tax Social Security in varying degrees. Minnesota and North Dakota are notable for following the federal rules on taxation.

You May Have Dreamed Of A Tax

If you’re wondering if Social Security benefits taxable, here’s your answer: Absolutely. Uncle Sam taxes up to 85% of your benefits, depending on your income, and more than a dozens states can tack on additional taxes of their own. New Mexico, for one, treats Social Security benefits the same way as the feds. But other states tax Social Security benefits only if income exceeds a specified threshold amount. For example, Missouri taxes Social Security benefits only if your income tops $85,000, or $100,000 for married couples. Then there’s Utah, which includes Social Security benefits in taxable income, but starting in 2021 allows a tax credit for a portion of the benefits subject to tax.

Also remember that a tax on Social Security doesn’t necessarily mean a state is unsuitable for retirement. Colorado, one of the 13 states that taxes at least some Social Security benefits, actually ranks as one of the 10 most tax-friendly state for retirees. That’s why it’s best to weigh all state taxes when researching the best places to retire. For each state, we’ve included a link to that state’s page in our State-by-State Guide to Taxes on Retirees. Take a look at the 13 states that tax Social Security benefits.

The state-by-state guide to taxes on retirees is updated annually based on information from state tax departments, the Tax Foundation, and the U.S. Census Bureau. Income tax rates and thresholds are for the 2020 tax year unless otherwise noted.

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Paying Taxes On Social Security

You should get a Social Security Benefit Statement each January, detailing the benefits you received during the previous tax year. You can use it to determine whether you owe federal income tax on your benefits. The information is available online if you enroll on the Social Security site.

If you owe taxes on your Social Security benefits, you can make quarterly estimated tax payments to the IRS or have federal taxes withheld from your payouts before you receive them.

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How To Report Your Social Security Income

Each January, you will receive a Form Social Security 1099, SSA-1099, that shows the total benefits you received for the previous year and the total amount you are required to report to the IRS on your federal tax return.

If you misplaced your form, you can download a copy by creating a free online account with the Social Security Administration.

You will report the amount in Box 5 of Form SSA-1099 and the total amount on line 6a of your Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return or Form 1040-SR, U.S. Tax Return for Seniors. The amount considered taxable income depends on what other income you earned during the year, which you should note on line 6b of Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

Remember: The taxable amount of your benefits is based on your filing status and combined income. If you need to calculate the taxable amount of Social Security benefits, you can use this worksheet.

State Taxes On Social Security Benefits

Just started collecting Social Security? Here

Everything weve discussed above is about your federal income taxes. Depending on where you live, you may also have to pay state income taxes.

There are 13 states that collect taxes on at least some Social Security income. Four of those states follow the same taxation rules as the federal government. So if you live in one of those four states then you will pay the states regular income tax rates on all of your taxable benefits .

The other nine states also follow the federal rules but offer deductions or exemptions based on your age or income. So in those nine states, you likely wont pay tax on the full taxable amount.

The other 37 states do not tax Social Security income.

State Taxes on Social Security Benefits
Taxed According to Federal RulesMinnesota, North Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia
Partially TaxedColorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Utah
No State Tax on Social Security BenefitsAlabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming

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Office Of Hearings Operations

On August 8, 2017, Acting Commissioner Nancy A. Berryhill informed employees that the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review would be renamed to Office of Hearings Operations . The hearing offices had been known as “ODAR” since 2006, and the Office of Hearings and Appeals before that. OHO administers the ALJ hearings for the Social Security Administration. Administrative Law Judges conduct hearings and issue decisions. After an ALJ decision, the Appeals Council considers requests for review of ALJ decisions, and acts as the final level of administrative review for the Social Security Administration .

Social Security Number Theft

Because Social Security Numbers have become useful in identity theft and other forms of crime, various schemes have been perpetrated to acquire valid Social Security Numbers and related identity information.

In February 2006, the Social Security Administration received several reports of an email message being circulated addressed to “Dear Social Security Number And Card owner” and purporting to be from the Social Security Administration. The message informs the reader “that someone illegally is using your Social Security number and assuming your identity” and directs the reader to a website designed to look like Social Security’s Internet website.

“I am outraged that someone would target an unsuspecting public in this manner,” said Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart. “I have asked the Inspector General to use all the resources at his command to find and prosecute whoever is perpetrating this fraud.”

Once directed to the phony website, the individual is reportedly asked to confirm his or her identity with “Social Security and bank information”. Specific information about the individual’s credit card number, expiration date and is then requested. “Whether on our online website or by phone, Social Security will never ask you for your credit card information or your PIN,” Commissioner Jo Anne B. Barnhart reported.

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Will You Be Taxed On Your Social Security Benefit

The next question that typically comes to mind when you tell current or future retirees that Social Security benefits are taxable is, “Will my benefits be taxed? Right now, the answer is pretty much 50-50 between yes and no, although the pendulum continues to swing more toward seniors being taxed than not being tax on their Social Security income.

In 1984, when the taxation of benefits was implemented, persons and couples filing jointly whose modified adjusted gross income plus one-half of benefits exceeded $25,000 and $32,000, respectively, were subject to the tax. In this instance, the tax meant that up to half of their Social Security benefits could face federal ordinary income tax rates.

Then, in 1993, a second tier of taxation was introduced under the Clinton administration. Using the same formula as above — i.e., MAGI plus one-half of benefits — single filers and couples filing jointly with more than $34,000 and $44,000, respectively, will be subjected to this second tier. This new tier allows up to 85% of Social Security benefits to be taxed at the federal ordinary income tax rate.

Now, here’s the catch: These income thresholds have never been adjusted for inflation. The fact that these thresholds haven’t budged for 35-plus and 25-plus years, respectively, is a big reason why more and more seniors are being subjected to this tax, and why you currently are, or may be in the future, paying back some of your benefits to the Social Security Administration.

How Do Benefits Work And How Can I Qualify

When is the Best Time to Start Claiming Social Security Benefits?

While you work, you pay Social Security taxes. This tax money goes into a trust fund that pays benefits to:

  • Those who are currently retired

  • To people with disabilities

  • To the surviving spouses and children of workers who have died

Each year you work, youll get credits to help you become eligible for benefits when its time for you to retire. Find all the benefits Social Security Administration offers.

There are four main types of benefits that the SSA offers:

  • Learn about earning limits if you plan to work while receiving Social Security benefits

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How Much Of Your Social Security Income Is Taxable

Social Security payments have been subject to taxation above certain income limits since 1983. No inflation adjustments have been made to those limits since then, so most people who receive Social Security benefits and have other sources of income pay some taxes on the benefits.

No taxpayer, regardless of income, has all of their Social Security benefits taxed. The top-level is 85% of the total benefit. Here’s how the Internal Revenue Service calculates how much is taxable:

  • The calculation begins with your adjusted gross income from Social Security and all other sources. That may include wages, self-employed earnings, interest, dividends, required minimum distributions from qualified retirement accounts, and any other taxable income.
  • Then, any tax-exempt interest is added.
  • If that total exceeds the minimum taxable levels, at least half of your Social Security benefits will be considered taxable income. You then have to take the standard deduction or itemize deductions in order to arrive at your net income.

The amount you owe depends on precisely where that number lands in the federal income tax tables.

Combined income = your adjusted gross income + nontaxable interest + half of your Social Security benefits

What Percentage Of Social Security Is Taxable

If you file as an individual, your Social Security is not taxable only if your total income for the year is below $25,000. Half of it is taxable if your income is between $25,000 and $34,000. If your income is higher than that, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable.

If you and your spouse file jointly, you’ll owe taxes on half of your benefits if your joint income is between $32,000 and $44,000. If your income is above that, up to 85% is taxable income.

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Withdraw Taxable Income Before Retirement

Another way to minimize your taxable income when drawing Social Security is to maximize, or at least increase, your taxable income in the years before you begin to receive benefits.

You could be in your peak earning years between ages 59½ and retirement. Take a chunk of money out of your retirement account and pay the taxes on it. You can use it later on without pushing up your taxable income.

For example, you could withdraw funds a little earlyor “take distributions,” in tax jargonfrom your tax-sheltered retirement accounts such as IRAs and 401s. You can make distributions penalty-free after age 59½. That means you avoid being dinged for making these withdrawals too early, but you must still pay income tax on the amount you withdraw.

Since the withdrawals are taxable , they must be planned carefully with an eye on the other taxes you will pay that year. The goal is to pay less in tax by making more withdrawals during this pre-Social Security period than you would after you begin to draw benefits. That requires considering the total tax bite from withdrawals, Social Security benefits, and any other sources.

Be mindful, too, that at age 72, you’re required to take minimum distributions from these accounts, so you need to plan for those mandatory withdrawals.

Social Security Tax Rates

How to Deposit Your Tax Refund Fast

Social Security functions much like a flat tax. Everyone pays the same rate, regardless of how much they earn, until they hit the ceiling. As of 2021, a single rate of 12.4% is applied to all wages and self-employment income earned by a worker up to a maximum dollar limit of $142,800.

Half this tax is paid by the employee through payroll withholding. The other half is paid by the employer. So employees pay 6.2% of their wage earnings up to the maximum wage base, and employers also pay 6.2% of their employee’s wage earnings up to the maximum wage base, for a total of 12.4%.

This 12.4% figure does not include the Medicare tax, which is an additional 2.9% divided between employee and employer.

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How Workers Can Get Estimates Of Benefits

The Social Security Administration provides benefit estimates to workers through the Social Security Statement. The Statement can be accessed online by opening an online account with SSA called my Social Security. With that account, workers can also construct “what if” scenarios, helping them to understand the effect on monthly benefits if they work additional years or delay the start of retirement benefits. The my Social Security account also offers other services, allowing individuals to request a replacement Social Security card or check the status of an application.

A printed copy of the Social Security Statement is mailed to workers age 60 or older.

In 2021, SSA began producing Retirement Ready fact sheets, available online and as part of the online Statement, that tailor retirement planning information to different age groups .

SSA also has a Benefits Calculators web page with several stand-alone online calculators that help individuals estimate their benefits and prepare for retirement. These include benefit calculators for spouses, calculators for persons affected by the Windfall Elimination Provision or the Government Pension Offset and calculators to determine a person’s full retirement age or the effect of the earnings test on benefits.

SSA also provides a life expectancy calculator to help with retirement planning.

How To Reduce Your Social Security Tax Liability

If you expect you may owe taxes on your Social Security benefits, there are a few things you can do to potentially minimize them.

  • Reduce business profits: If you own a business, you can reduce your tax liability by taking advantage of business tax write-offs you may be entitled to.
  • Limit retirement withdrawals: You may also want to consider reducing your withdrawals from retirement income to reduce your tax liability, but you should consider the required minimum distribution rules while doing so. If you dont withdraw at least a minimum from most taxable retirement accounts after age 72, you may actually increase your tax burden.
  • Sell capital assets strategically: If you own capital assets, such as stocks, bonds or real estate, you should discuss with a tax professional the best time to sell your assets. Any capital assets sold at a loss can reduce your overall income. Any assets sold at a gain may be subject to capital gains taxes, depending on how long you held them.

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Earn Ssa Work Credits In Some Countries

You may not have enough credits from your work in the United States to qualify for retirement benefits. But, you may be able to count your work credits from another country. The SSA has agreements with 24 countries. If you earned credits in one of those countries, they can help you qualify for U.S. benefits.

States That Don’t Tax Social Security Benefits

When to start Social Security

Many people are surprised to learn that they can end up having to pay federal income tax on their Social Security benefits. To add insult to injury, some states also require residents above a certain income threshold to pay state income tax on what they receive from Social Security. Yet the majority of states are kind enough not to tax Social Security, so it’s worth considering the issue in choosing where you want to live after you quit your job and start drawing your benefits.

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Do I Pay Social Security Tax Or Income Tax On My Social Security Benefit Payments

If you earn between $25,000 and $34,000 per year as a single filer , you will pay income taxes on up to 50% of your Social Security benefits. If you earn more than $34,000 , youâll pay taxes on up to 85% of your benefits. You will never be taxed on more than 85% of your Social Security benefits.

Remember, with TurboTax, we’ll ask you simple questions about your life and help you fill out all the right tax forms. Whether you have a simple or complex tax situation, we’ve got you covered. Feel confident doing your own taxes.

Claim That Politicians Exempted Themselves From The Tax

Critics of Social Security have said that the politicians who created Social Security exempted themselves from having to pay the Social Security tax. When the federal government created Social Security, all federal employees, including the president and members of Congress, were exempt from having to pay the Social Security tax, and they received no Social Security benefits. This law was changed by the Social Security Amendments of 1983, which brought within the Social Security system all members of Congress, the president and the vice president, federal judges, and certain executive-level political appointees, as well as all federal employees hired in any capacity on or after January 1, 1984. Many state and local government workers, however, are exempt from Social Security taxes because they contribute instead to alternative retirement systems set up by their employers.

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