Paying taxes on Social Security, explained
Not every person pays the same amount of taxes on Social Security benefits because it depends on a person’s income.
If your total income is more than $25,000 for an individual or $32,000 for a married couple filing jointly, you must pay federal income taxes on your Social Security benefits.
The portion of your benefits subject to taxation varies with income level, which we explain:
File a federal tax return as an “individual” and your income is:
- Between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits.
- More than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
File a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income that is:
- Between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
- More than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.