Your Social Security benefits may be taxable
March 9, 2016 at 5:17 p.m.
By Kirk Larson
Social Security Washington Public Affairs Specialist
It’s that time of year again: time to start preparing to file your taxes. If you receive Social Security benefits, one of the documents you will need when filing your federal income tax return is your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099).
Your Social Security benefits may be taxable. This includes monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. About one-third of people receiving Social Security benefits must pay taxes on some of these benefits, depending on the amount of their taxable income. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income — such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends, and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return — in addition to your Social Security benefits. You will never have to pay taxes on more than 85 percent of your Social Security benefits, based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules.
To find out if you must pay taxes on your benefits, you will need your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099). You should automatically receive your 1099 form each January. You must pay taxes on your benefits if you file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your “combined income” exceeds $25,000. If you file a joint return, you must pay taxes if you and your spouse have “combined income” of more than $32,000. If you are married and file a separate return, you probably will have to pay taxes on your benefits.
Whether you file your taxes early or wait until the deadline, Social Security makes it easy to obtain a replacement 1099 form if you didn’t receive one or misplaced yours. You can get an instant replacement quickly and easily by using your secure online my Social Security account. If you don’t already have an account, you can create one in minutes. Follow the link to the my Social Security page, and go to “Sign In” or “Create an Account.” Once you are logged in, select the “Replacement Documents” tab to obtain your replacement 1099 form. If you create a my Social Security account, you can also use it to keep track of your earnings each year, manage your benefits, and more.
With a my Social Security account, gathering your Social Security information for tax season has never been easier. Open your own personal my Social Security account today at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. To see if you need to pay taxes go to https://www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/taxes.html.
Kirk Larson is a Social Security Administration Public Affairs Specialist located in Seattle and serving Western Washington.