Yes, you may be liable to federal taxes on a part of your Social Security (SS) payments using tax brackets. The tax bracket you are in is determined by your net taxable income, as reported on Form 1040. This figure represents your total income less any permitted deductions. If you combine your social security income with other sources of income, you may be liable to income tax on up to 85% of your SS payments.
- Depending on total yearly income, up to 85% of Social Security income payments may be taxed. Thirteen states also tax Social Security income separately.
- The IRS publishes annual thresholds for federal income tax brackets as well as Social Security income restrictions.
- For further information on determining your income tax payable on benefits, see IRS Publication 915.
What Portion of Your Household’s Social Security Benefits Is Subject to Federal Income Tax?
In most cases, up to 50% of your benefits will be taxed. However, if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at some point during the tax year, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxed. Alternatively, if one-half of your benefits plus all of your other income exceeds $34,000 ($44,000 if married filing jointly).
For further information on determining this amount, see IRS Publication 915. You must enter this amount on Form 1040 as regular income after calculating it.
A senior who relies only on Social Security does not required to pay federal income taxes on their payments. If the taxpayer has other sources of income, such as tax-exempt interest income, they must add one-half of their yearly Social Security payments to their other income and compare the result to an IRS-set level. Some Social Security payments are taxed if the sum exceeds the IRS threshold.
The filing barrier for individuals is $25,000, while for married couples filing jointly, it is $32,000. Married couples that file separately but live together have a $0 threshold and must pay taxes on Social Security payments regardless of any income generated.
What Is Ordinary Income?
Wages, self-employment income, pensions, Social Security benefits, rentals, royalties, and interest make up the majority of your household’s taxable income. Other types of family income, such as capital gains, qualifying dividends, and collectable capital gains, are not considered ordinary income and are taxed at separate rates.
How Is Ordinary Income Taxed?
All sources of regular income are totaled, and then all permitted deductions are removed. What is left is taxed using tax brackets and IRS tax tables.
The income levels and criteria for 2020 are as follows:
- 10% if your income is $9,875 or less ($19,750 if you’re married and filing jointly).
- 12% on earnings in excess of $9,875 ($19,750 for married joint filers).
- 22% on earnings above $40,125 ($80,250 for married joint filers).
- 24% on earnings above $85,525 ($171,050 for married joint filers).
- 32% on earnings above $163,300 ($326,600 for married joint filers).
- 35% on earnings above $207,350 ($414,700 for married joint filers).
- 37% for incomes more than $518,400 ($622,050 for married joint filers).
For 2021, the figures are:
- 10% if your income is $9,950 or less ($19,900 if you’re married and filing jointly).
- 12% on earnings in excess of $9,950 ($19,900 for married joint filers)
- Over $40,525 ($81,050 for married joint filers): 22%
- 24% on earnings above $86,375 ($172,750 for married joint filers).
- 32% on earnings above $164,925 ($329,850 for married joint filers).
- 35% on earnings above $209,425 ($418,850 for married joint filers).
- 37% for incomes more than $523,600 ($628,300 for married joint filers).
States That Tax Social Security Benefits
The majority of states do not tax Social Security payments, but 13 do under specific conditions. Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia are the states in question.
West Virginia, on the other hand, enacted legislation that would gradually phase out the state income tax on Social Security payments. 35% of benefits were excluded for the 2019 tax year. The exemption increases to 65% in 2020. Social Security payouts will be completely excluded by 2021.
If you are a single filer with an income of less than $75,000, Connecticut exempts you from receiving Social Security payments. Before benefits are taxed, the exemption for married couples filing jointly is $100,000.
If your federal adjusted gross income is less than $75,000, Kansas completely exempts benefits regardless of filing status.
Benefits are exempt in Missouri for recipients 62 and older with an income of less than $85,000, or $100,000 if married filing jointly.
Some pension and annuity payments, including Social Security benefits, are exempt from income taxes in Colorado. Residents over the age of 55 may remove up to $20,000, while those over the age of 65 can exclude $24,000.
Utah provides a $450 non-refundable tax credit on retirement income. For solo taxpayers, the credit phases out at $25,000, while for married couples filing jointly, it phases out at $32,000.
Residents 65 and over in New Mexico may deduct up to $8,000 in income. The deduction begins to taper out at $28,500 for solo filers and $51,000 for married couples filing jointly.
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