Paying Social Security Taxes on Earnings After Full Retirement Age

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Paying Social Security Taxes on Earnings After Full Retirement Age

Everyone, even those working beyond full retirement age, is required to pay Social Security contributions based on their income. Working over the full retirement age may potentially improve future Social Security benefits since Social Security funds are still being paid in.

Key Takeaways

  • Depending on your income, you may be required to pay income tax on a portion of your Social Security benefits.
  • Couples filing jointly with a combined income of $32,000 to $44,000 will have to pay tax on up to 50% of their benefits in 2021. If their total income exceeds $44,000, they will be taxed on up to 85% of their benefits.
  • Singles must earn between $25,000 and $34,000 for 50% of the time, and more than $34,000 for 85% of the time.
  • Some states may tax Social Security income in addition to what the IRS requires.

Income and Taxation of Benefits

Continuing to work, on the other hand, may reduce current benefits, if any, received during the year full retirement age is attained, according to a Social Security Administration restriction that varies annually.

If the full retirement age is reached in July, for example, the total benefit income generated from January to July must be less than the maximum, otherwise Social Security payments are reduced by $1 for every $3 above the limit, which is $50,520 in 2021 and $51,960 in 2022.

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The Social Security Administration holds that money and repays it in installments whenever the taxpayer no longer works. When the entire benefit amount is provided, there are no income limitations after the month when full retirement age is attained, regardless of how much money is generated.

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Taxpayer Bracket

Taking Social Security payments while continuing to work, on the other hand, may have the unintended effect of pushing a taxpayer into a higher tax rate. Most individuals are unaware that a portion of Social Security payments, up to 85% depending on filing status and combined income, including half of Social Security benefits, may be taxed.

Social Security payouts are also taxed in several states. Fill out IRS Form W-4V or get a Voluntary Withholding Request Form online to have taxes deducted from Social Security benefit payments.

There are now 13 states where your Social Security income may be subject to state taxation, at least for certain recipients. Check with the applicable state tax department if you reside in one of these states: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, or West Virginia. As with the federal tax, how these entities tax Social Security varies depending on income and other factors.

How to Lower Your Social Security Taxes

For people who are taxed on their Social Security income, there are numerous options. The most apparent answer is to decrease or remove the inclusion of interest and dividends in the provisional income calculation.

As a result, converting the reportable investment income into tax-deferred income, such as an annuity, which will not appear on the 1040 Form until it is withdrawn, might be the answer. If you have $200,000 in certificates of deposit (CDs) generating 3% per year, it will be considered as provisional income.

When determining provisional income, the same $200,000 accumulating within an annuity with the interest recycled back into the annuity would effectively generate a reportable interest of $0.

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Advisor Insight

Clear View Wealth Advisors LLC, Amesbury, MA, Steve Stanganelli, CFP®, CRPC®, AEP®, CCFSClear View Wealth Advisors LLC, Amesbury, MA

You must contribute to Social Security as long as you are working and generating an income, whether as a self-employed person or for an employer.

However, whether or not you must pay taxes on your Social Security payments is determined by your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI).Your benefits would be taxed if your MAGI exceeded a specific level for your filing status (e.g., single or married filing jointly). Taxation applies to up to 85% of a taxpayer’s Social Security payments.

Annuities often constitute taxable income when distributed, depending on the account type. As a result, almost every investor who is not spending all of the interest earned on a CD or other taxable instrument may profit by transferring at least a part of their assets into a tax-deferred investment or account.

Another option is to simply work less, particularly if you are at or near the threshold for having your benefits taxed.

How Much of Your Social Security Is Taxable After Reaching Retirement Age?

Notably, after retirement, 85% of your Social Security benefits may be taxed. Your current income will affect how much of your benefits are taxed. If you file as an individual and your income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you will be taxed on 50% of your benefits. If you earn more over $34,000, 85% of your benefits will be taxed. If you are married filing jointly and your total income with your spouse is between $32,000 and $44,000, 50% of your income will be taxed. 85% of benefits above $44,000 are taxed.

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At What Point Does One Stop Paying Social Security Tax?

You are not obligated to pay Social Security taxes over the salary base level, which is $142,800 in 2021. So, if you make $142,000 or more, the maximum Social Security tax you will pay is $8,853.60. If you earn less than $142,000, the maximum amount of Social Security tax you will pay is less than that. The pay floor for 2022 is $147,000.

What Is the Social Security Tax Rate for Retirees?

In 2021, the combined Social Security and Medicare rate will be 7.65%. Up to the salary base level of $142,800 in 2021, the Social Security component is 6.2%. The tax rate remains the same in 2022, but the salary base limit rises to $147,000.

The Bottom Line

If you continue to work beyond the retirement age, you must make Social Security contributions. Depending on your income, you may be taxed on your Social Security payments when you begin receiving them. You may be taxed on either 50% or 85% of your benefits. There are several ways for avoiding taxation, including decreasing your income as well as your interest and dividend income.

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