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Level 1

retired parents

My parents are retired and they are 76 and 74 years of age. Their sole source of income comes from social security ($36k combine income) and about $6,000 from a 401k. My question is do they need to file an income tax return Federal and State (California) since the source of income is mainly from Social Security.

2 Replies
Level 15

retired parents

No. They would have no filing requirement, but they would file if tax was withheld from their 401-K. 

Level 15

retired parents

It depends on the amount of other taxable income they received to determine if the SS benefits are taxable.


Social Security Retirement/Disability/Survivors benefits are reported on a form SSA-1099 and the benefits received are to be entered on a federal tax return. The benefits may be taxable depending on the amount of other income you have entered on your tax return.
However, if the Social Security benefits are the Only income to be reported on the tax return, then there is no reason or need to file a tax return.


To enter Social Security benefits reported on form SSA-1099

  • Click on Federal Taxes (Personal using Home and Business)
  • Click on Wages and Income (Personal Income using Home and Business)
  • Click on I'll choose what I work on (if shown)
  • Scroll down to Retirement Plans and Social Security
  • On Social Security (SSA-1099, RRB-1099), click the start or update button

Or enter ssa-1099 in the Search box located in the upper right of the program screen. Click on Jump to ssa-1099


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
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