Social Security Taxable Benefits
Use this calculator to estimate how much of your Social Security benefit is subject to income taxes. For modest and low incomes, none of your Social Security benefit is subject to income taxes. However, once your income plus 50% of your Social Security benefit exceeds $32,000 for married couples filing jointly and $25,000 for everyone else, an ever increasing portion of your benefit is subject to income taxes. For higher incomes, up to 85% of your Social Security benefit is subject to incomes taxes and can have a significant impact on your net after-tax benefit.
Social Security Taxable Benefits Definitions
- Social Security benefits received
- This is the total of all Social Security and equivalent Railroad Retirement benefits you and your spouse (if you are married filing jointly) received in 2020. These benefits are reported to you on forms SSA-1099 for Social Security and RRB-1099 for Railroad Retirement benefits.
- Federal Income Tax Rates:
- Filing status
- Choose your filing status. Your filing status determines the income levels for your Federal tax rates. It is also used to determine your standard deduction, and many deduction or credit phaseout income ranges. The table below summarizes the five possible filing status choices. It is important to understand that your marital status as of the last day of the year determines your filing status.
Filing Status Married Filing Jointly If you are married, you are able to file a joint return with your spouse. If your spouse died during the tax year, you are still able to file a joint return for that year. You may also choose to file separately under the status "Married Filing Separately". Qualified Widow(er) Generally, you qualify for this status for two years after the year of your spouse's death, as long as you and your spouse filed a joint tax return in the year immediately prior to their death. You are also required to have at least one dependent child or stepchild for whom you are the primary provider. Single If you are divorced, legally separated or unmarried as of the last day of the year you should use this status. Head of Household This is the status for unmarried individuals that pay for more than half of the cost to keep up a home. This home needs to be the main home for the income tax filer and at least one qualifying relative. You can also choose this status if you are married, but didn't live with your spouse at any time during the last six months of the year. You also need to provide more than half of the cost to keep up your home and have at least one dependent child living with you. Married Filing Separately If you are married, you have the choice to file separate returns. The filing status for this option is "Married Filing Separately".
- Wages, salaries, tips, etc.
- Enter your total of all wages, salaries, tips, etc. For this entry only enter the amount for the primary taxpayer, do not include your spouse. This is normally the amount shown on your W-2 form(s) in box 1 provided by your employer. You should also include any wages received as a household employee not reported on a W-2 (a W-2 may not have been provided if the amount was less than $2,100). It should also include any tips not reported to your employer - including allocated tips that appear on your W-2 form(s) box 8.
- Other income
- Enter your estimated total other income for the year. All income is treated the same when calculating the percentage of your Social Security benefit that is subject to income tax. For the estimated tax on your benefit, we assume that your income is all normal income and not long-term capital gains or qualified dividends which may reduce your overall tax liability.
- Tax-exempt interest
- This amount is included in the total income used to calculate taxable Social Security Benefits, even though the tax-exempt interest itself is not subject to income taxes. Enter your (and your spouse's if married filing jointly) total tax-exempt interest reported to you (and your spouse if you are married filing jointly) on form 1099-INT or form 1099-OID. Also include any amounts on 1099-DIV reported as exempt interest dividends. Don't include any interest earned in an IRA, Health Savings Account, MSA or Coverdell education savings account.
- Taxable income adjustments for Social Security
- This is for a group of income items and benefits normally excluded from your taxable income but included when calculating the amount of Social Security that is taxable. This amount is the total of the following:
- Employer-provided adoption benefits excluded from your income (form 8839)
- Foreign earned income or housing that was excluded from your income (form 2555)
- Any exclusion of income for Bona Fide Residents of American Samoa (form 4563) or Puerto Rico.
- Taxable Social Security benefits
- A portion of your Social Security benefit and equivalent Railroad Retirement benefit is included in your Total Income (and subject to income taxes and any other tax rules that are based on your total income) when your income exceeds certain thresholds. Note that we don't include the impact of a lump-sum election for payments received for prior year's benefits in this calculation. An overview of the calculation (the detailed worksheet is part of IRS Publication 915) is described below.
- Calculate modified total income (MTI): Total Income (without Social Security Benefits) + 50% of your total Social Security benefits + Taxable Social Security income adjustments (Employer-provided Adoption benefits excluded from your income, Foreign earned income or housing excluded from your income, income for bona fide residents of American Samoa (form 4563) or Puerto Rico) + Tax exempt interest.
- Calculate modified total adjustments (MTA): Total adjustments minus any amounts for student loan interest deduction, tuition and fees deduction.
- Calculate modified adjusted gross income (MAGI): MTI- MTA
- If MAGI is less than the 'Base Amount' for your filing status, none of your Social Security benefit is included in your income.
- If MAGI is greater than the 'Base Amount' for your filing status, The Taxable Social Security benefit added to your Total Income is the sum of the following two calculations:
- For each $1 of MAGI over the 'Base Amount' for your filing status $0.50 is Taxable. This total is limited by 1) 50% of your Social Security benefits or 2) 1/2 of the '50% Phaseout' whichever is less.
- For each $1 of MAGI over the 'Base Amount'+'50% Phaseout' for your filing status $0.85 is Taxable.
- Taxable Social Security income is limited to 85% of your Social Security benefits.
Filing Status and Taxable Social Security Benefits Filing Status Base Amount 50% Phaseout Married Filing Jointly $32,000 $12,000 Qualified Widow(er) $25,000 $9,000 Single $25,000 $9,000 Head of Household $25,000 $9,000 Married Filing Separately* $0 $0