Tax Insights

Your Guide to State, Local, Federal, Estate + International Taxation

5 Tips to determine if your Social Security is taxable

Social Security, tax, taxable incomeYou may not realize the Social Security benefits you received in 2018 may be taxable. You should receive a Form SSA-1099 from the Social Security Administration which shows the total amount of your benefits. You can use this information to help determine if your benefits are taxable. Here are five tips from the IRS to help you:

  1. How much, if any, of your Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your total income and marital status.
  2. Generally, if Social Security benefits were your only income for 2018, your benefits are not taxable, and you probably do not need to file a federal income tax return.
  3. If you received income from other sources, your benefits will not be taxed unless your modified adjusted gross income is more than the base amount for your filing status (see below).
  4. You can do the following quick computation to determine whether some of your benefits may be taxable:
    • First, add one-half of the total Social Security benefits you received to all your other income, including any tax-exempt interest and other exclusions from income.
    • Then, compare this total to the base amount for your filing status. If the total is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable.
  5. The 2018 base amounts are:
    • $32,000 for married couples filing jointly.
    • $25,000 for single, head of household, qualifying widow/widower with a dependent child, or married individuals filing separately who did not live with their spouse at any time during the year.
    • $0 for married persons filing separately who lived together during the year.

Scott W. Clouse, CPA