HOWARD KOSSOVER: Some must pay taxes on benefitsDo I have to pay taxes on my Social Security benefits?
By: Howard Kossover, Grand Forks Herald
Q. Do I have to pay taxes on my Social Security benefits?
A. About one-third of people who get Social Security have to pay income taxes on them. Based on taxable income, some pay no tax on Social Security benefits, some on as much as 50 percent of benefits and some on as much as 85 percent of benefits. No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits.
In general, if you file an individual federal tax return and have a combined income from $25,000 to $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on 50 percent of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000, as much as 85 percent of your Social Security benefits is subject to income tax. Combined income is your adjusted gross income, plus your nontaxable interest, plus one-half of your Social Security benefits.
If you file a joint return, you may have to pay taxes on 50 percent of your benefits if you and your spouse have a combined income that is between $32,000 and $44,000. If your combined income is more than $44,000, as much as 85 percent of your Social Security benefits is subject to income tax. If you are married and file a separate return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.
In January, you will be automatically mailed a statement showing the amount of benefits received in 2011.
For information, speak to your regular tax preparer or call the IRS toll-free telephone number, (800) 829-3676, for Publication 915, Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits. You also can log on to www.socialsecurity.gov/planners/taxes.htm.