5 Ways Social Security Affects Your Taxes

Elderly man and woman under red umbrella

Social security benefits can be taxable if your total income, including your benefits, is greater than the limit. The limit is determined by your filing status. Social security benefits include monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. If you receive social security, here are five key points to know about how your taxes are affected by it. 

Needed tax forms. You should receive Form SSA-1099, Social Security Benefit Statement. The total amount of benefits you receive from the Social Security Administration is in Box 5 of the statement.  

Eligibility. To determine if your benefits are taxable, half of your benefits plus all other income (including tax-exempt interest) are added together. If this total is more than the base amount of your filing status, you are required to pay taxes on your benefits. 

The base amounts are: 

  • $25,000 – single, head of household, or qualifying widow(er)
  • $25,000 – married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse the entire year
  • $32,000 – married filing jointly
  • $0 – married filing separately and lived with your spouse any time during the tax year 

Reporting net social security. If your benefits are taxable, your net amount of social security benefits should be recorded on line 5a of Form 1040, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.  

Reporting taxable amount. The taxable portion of your social security is reported on line 5b of Form 1040. This amount is based on the total amount of your income and benefits for the tax year. TaxSlayer figures if your benefits are taxable and calculates the taxable portion for you.  

Filing status. If you’re married filing jointly, you and your spouse’s incomes and social security benefits are combined to figure the taxable portion of your benefits. If your spouse didn’t receive any benefits, but your benefits are taxable, your spouse’s income is still added to yours. 

 The information in this article is current through tax year 2019. 



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