Is Your Social Security Taxable?

By: Tax Advisors | Aug 24, 2018

Social Security benefits are taxed depending on your total income from all sources. Here is how to calculate how much of your Social Security benefits is taxable.

Provisional Income

Provisional income is your total worldwide income, including tax-exempt income, plus half of your Social Security benefits.

Base Amounts

These base amounts are used in figuring the taxable portion of your Social Security benefits for tax years 2017 and 2018.

Filing status Base amount Additional amount
Single $25,000 $34,000
Head of Household $25,000 $34,000
Qualifying Widow(er) $25,000 $34,000
Married Filing Jointly $32,000 $44,000
Married Filing Separately $0  

Is Your Social Security Taxable?

Taxable Social Security Benefits


  1. If your provisional income is below the base amounts for your filing status, then your Social Security benefits are not taxable.
  2. If you provisional income is between the base amount and the additional amount, then 50% of your Social Security benefits over the base amount are taxable.
  3. If your provisional income is over the additional amount, 85% of your benefits will be taxed in almost all cases.
  4. The taxable portion of your Social Security benefits cannot exceed 85% of your total benefits.

State Taxes Are Different

Although a majority of states exclude Social Security income from taxation, five states will also tax up to 85 percent of your benefits as of January 2018: Rhode Island, Vermont, North Dakota, West Virginia, and Minnesota.

Eight other states—Utah, Nebraska, New Mexico, Montana, Missouri, Kansas, Connecticut and Colorado—also tax Social Security benefits to some extent but they offer some breaks based on your age and income level. If you live in any of these tax jurisdictions, don’t neglect to plan for state taxes as well. 

Tags: Taxable Social Security, Social Security Benefits, Tax Tips, Tax, Income Tax, San Diego, California



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