Q: I retired last year, but my spouse continues to work. This will be our first tax season with Social Security benefit income. Will my Social Security benefits be taxable?
A: If you’re receiving Social Security income— but your spouse is still working — a portion of your Social Security benefits is likely to be subject to taxation. Here are some tips to help you figure out if your benefits will be taxable:
- Watch the mail for Form SSA-1099: If you received Social Security in 2017, then you should receive a Form SSA-1099, the Social Security benefit statement showing the amount that you received during 2017. You can find a copy online by setting up an account at mySocialSecurity.com.
- Here’s the quick tax formula: Add one-half of your Social Security income to all other income, including any tax-exempt interest. (Yes, tax exempt!) Compare that amount to the following base amounts. If your modified adjusted gross income is higher than $32,000 (married filing jointly) or ($25,000) single, you will likely pay taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits.
- IRS Interactive tax tool: You can learn if your any of your benefits are taxable here — Interactive Tax Assistant Tool.
- IRS Publication 915: Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits.
- Video: Are My Social Security Benefits Taxable?
- Free help filing your taxes: Many areas offer free assistance to help older taxpayers file their returns. Check with your local senior center, library or community college to learn about programs in your area.