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Returning Member


How much of social security retirement is taxable 

3 Replies
Level 15


Up to 85% of Social Security Retirement/Disability/Survivors benefits becomes taxable when all your other income plus 1/2 your social security reaches:

  • Married Filing Jointly - $32,000
  • Single or Head of Household - $25,000
  • Married Filing Separately - 0
Level 15


There is no fixed answer. It depends on how much other income you have.  

Social security only becomes taxable when added to sufficient other income. If you are otherwise required to file a tax return, you do need to enter it in Turbotax (TT). TT will determine the taxable portion.

Social security (including SSDI) becomes taxable when your income, including 1/2 your social security, reaches:

Married Filing Jointly(MFJ): $32,000

Single or head of household: $25,000

Married Filing Separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the tax year: $0

For the first  $9,000, over those thresholds,  (12,000 MFJ), only 50% of your SS is taxed. After that 85% is taxed. And gradually the  50% taxed  is replaced with the 85%. It's the government; they make it complicated. See IRS Publication 915. When TT prints out your return, it will provide you with the  IRS social security worksheet showing you how the taxable amount was calculated.  Here’s a copy showing you how the calculation is done:

After TurboTax (TT) calculates the taxable portion of SS, it puts the total amount of SS on line 5a of form 1040 and the taxable amount on line 5b (lines 20a & 20b in 2017). TT also produces a worksheet  to show how the taxable amount is calculated. Although most people pay tax on 85% of their SS. it can be less for lower income taxpayers.

How much  is "sufficient other income"? The simple answer is $12,000 (a single person's filing requirement). But the answer varies dependent on marital status, filing status, age, the amount of your Social security, and whether you are claimed as a dependent by someone else.

Level 13


Go use the IRS's Interactive Tax Assistant, enter your data, and get the answer, because, as noted above, anywhere between 0% and 85% of your Social Security is taxed, depending on a variety of factors.


See the ITA at

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