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Social Security: Are my benefits taxable?

Almost 9 out of 10 people over 65 receive Social Security benefits.

Social Security benefits

Here, we’ll explain the taxability of your benefits.


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Are my benefits taxable?

The quick answer to this question is yes. Some households have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This is usually the case if you have other earnings on top of your benefits.  For example, wages, self-employed earnings, interest, dividends, or other taxable income. The amount you pay depends on your earnings and filing status. The tax you’ll have to pay is a percentage of your benefits.

However, retirees who don’t have income other than their Social Security benefit won’t have to pay taxes on them.

How do I know if I have to pay?

At the start of each year, you should get a benefit statement (form SSA-1099) showing the benefits you got over the year. Use this statement when you complete your federal income taxes to find out if your benefits are subject to tax. If you do have to pay, you can have taxes withheld from your benefits when you apply.

If you can’t find yours, you can order one online. Simply follow the instructions under the “Replacement Documents” tab.


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