Online Services, Taxes

Tax Season — It’s About What You Know

March 17, 2016 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: March 17, 2016

a picture of stree signs that read tax season, and again.Did you know that your Social Security benefits may be taxable?

This includes your monthly retirement, survivor, and disability benefits. About one-third of people receiving Social Security benefits must pay taxes on some of these benefits, depending on the amount of their taxable income. This may happen if you have other significant income in addition to your Social Security benefits.

To find out whether you must pay taxes on your benefits, you will need your Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099/1042S). You should automatically receive it in the mail each January. It shows the total amount of benefits you received from Social Security in the previous year so you know how much Social Security income to report to the Internal Revenue Service on your tax return. The benefit statement is not available for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), as SSI payments are not taxable.

If you didn’t receive your Benefit Statement or misplaced it, you can get an instant replacement easily by using your secure my Social Security account. If you don’t already have an online account, you can create one in minutes. Go to the my Social Security page, and select “Sign In or Create an Account.” Once you are logged in, select the “Replacement Documents” tab to obtain your replacement 1099 or 1042S benefit statement. You can also use your personal my Social Security account to keep track of your earnings each year, manage your benefits, and more.

You can also obtain a replacement benefit statement by calling us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or contacting your local Social Security Office. If you live outside of the United States, please contact your nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Don’t wait. Be ready! Open your own personal my Social Security account today.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications

Jim Borland, Assistant Deputy Commissioner, Communications


  1. HRL

    Another year without COLA!
    Whoever decides we do not need an inflation adjustment does not grocery shop or pay medical bills

    • Rose

      Too true!

    • Seymour &.

      The cans of food are getting smaller. The rolls of toilet paper and paper products are getting smaller and the sheets are getting thinner. Who do these consumer products vendors think they are fooling? These are inflation contributors and should be taken into account when COL adjustments (i.e. increases) are to be made!

  2. HRL

    And the year my Mother died and I inherited a small amount. I had to pay tax on the inheritance, my SS income, and they increased the amount I had withdrawn to pay for Medicare

    • Dick W.

      You can appeal one-time events. The SS reviews tax returns yearly; makes adjustments.

      • Linda

        Can you please elaborate or direct me where to find for the info? Thank you

  3. Marc

    How did I know the comments section would be full of criticism and complaints? Because every single entry on this blog, no matter what the subject matter, gets just that – nasty, vicious, and unfounded complaints – from the majority of idiots – oops, I mean posters – who apparently don’t know how to read or can’t be bothered to do so, since their complaints are ALWAYS addressed in the article, or it directs them to the section of the SS website where they could find more information and answers to their mostly inane questions. Clearly the American national pastime is NOT football but criticizing and blaming the government for all their problems – most of which they’re creating for themselves because they DON’T LISTEN. And they always gripe most about how the government isn’t doing enough for them and it should be giving them more but they don’t think they should have to pay taxes AND they despise the government and think we need “smaller government.” You people do not deserve what you have, never mind more. No wonder the 1% call us “entitled” and “whiners.” Thats all the average American does any more is complain about the government – no matter what it does for them it’s never enough. It’s sickening.

    • Rose

      You are the idiot if you think the government is on your side. It is not just the government. It is the 1% corporate elite that make the rules. Until you’ve experienced what the majority of the poor have experienced, stop judging! These are actual lives that you are pointing fingers at. It seems you are the idiot. You have NO idea what the 1% call us. They have taken what they have. They have murdered many for what they have. They break all the rules, because they make all the rules. Nothing has changed, nor will it change as long as people do not wake up and become aware of what is going on and “who” those in power really are. The wealthiest people are not wealthy because they “earned” it. They’re wealthy because they TAKE whatever they want and get others to do their dirty work. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

      • Carol R.

        You got that right, Rose.

    • John O.

      Don’t you just hate complainers? If you looked at any of my posts I offer constructive information. By the way you are complaining about the complainers.

      • Dick W.

        The only 1% here is the US Congress (the income for life folks). They write the rules, which includes a generous retirement plan for themselves outside SS limitations.

        The corporate / private sector has no say in this system.

        • Patsy Y.

          Are you kidding? Of course the corporate sector has a say in this system. Money equals power. Wealthy corporations (considered as people) contribute money to political campaigns, to lobbyists and others influencing laws. They funnel this dirty money into the pockets of members of Congress. In exchange, politicians vote in the best interests of their ‘owners’.
          Considering a corporation as a person and Citizens United must be overturned in an attempt to elect officials rather than buy them. Until that happens, those with the most money control Congress. Wealthy corporations hold the most money which makes them the most powerful. As long as the powerful with most of the money control Congress, they control the law.
          The puzzle is how to erase corruption while Congress makes the laws. Terms limits for Congress would be one way to solve the problem. But, as long as they make the laws, that’s not happening.

          • Kaylan

            Hey, you’re the goto exetpr. Thanks for hanging out here.

        • Carol R.

          Don’t kid yourself. You really believe that the corporate sector has no say in the system? Where is that rock located that you have been living under? This is the United States of Corporate America.

    • dottie b.

      stop following blindly like sheep–think!

    • Maryann A.

      if the politicians didn’t suck us dry they would have more to give. the government is supposed to be by the people and for the people, but those in power abuse that and stuff their own pockets

    • Christine

      Three years later, I will be one of the few (perhaps the only one) here to agree with you. It’s even worse now than it was when you posted your comment in 2016! Was hoping to get some information from others’ experience with IRAs and SS, and instead it’s a whole lot of whining.

  4. Joyce L.

    My husband and I learned this the hard way. He retired on disability social security due to an injury. The social security office person told him it was not taxable because he was under the limit. He told the SS person his wife worked and she said that it did not matter. We got audited for the first year of disability and had to pay the income tax with penalties. Then we had to do amended tax returns to get everything after that corrected. I also checked with a CPA and he confirmed our mistake when filing our income tax return. He told me that changed about 1985 and he never understood how congress slipped that through the system.

  5. HTF

    Seems like double taxation since we were taxed on income before SS taken out.

    • Carol R.

      Not true. We were not taxed on the portion that was SS. I was a payroll manager for years.

      • Rex F.

        Seriously? When you file your taxes your first amount of your reportable income is w-2 wages, if any or self employed income. Your SS taxes are based on that amount up to the maximum limit for that year. Where do you get to deduct the SS taxes withheld from your paycheck? You are mistaken sir/madam. The Revenue Act of 1934 specified that a deduction to the taxpayer in computing net income would not be allowed. Social Security payroll taxes paid by individual workers have never been deductible from income for tax purposes either when the program was first implemented or an any time since. Please go to and check your facts. Search for Social Security Changes and read the ENTIRE article in which myths are stated and debunked. The truth is that our politicians have mishandled the accounting for the trust fund but it does exist. The problem is with the law which specifies what the trust fund investments must be, US government securities including bonds which are essentially loans to the government which can then be spent on anything. When the trust fund needs to sell bonds to meet it’s obligations, that is where the problem lies because the federal government must pay the trust fund from general revenues. Since we have massive debt and budget shortfalls, the federal government cannot continue to meet these demands without increasing taxes or reducing benefits. That is the simple math of the situation. I think it is wrong for any amount of social security income to be subject to income taxes no matter what your income is. It really hurts seniors to get hit with that double taxation. Unless lawmakers successfully reduce government expenditures significantly and soon, there just will not be enough revenue to repay the bonds in full, plain and simple.

  6. Jeannie B.

    I think its because social security was set up to help the poorer senior citizens.

    • Marcia

      Ha wait until you get thrown on Medicare and it costs 3-4times what you were paying for insurance! Because of Medicare , which they said I have to have, I can’t pay my bills, mortgage, grocerys!!!

  7. Erika V.

    I like to know why it is that we have to pay taxes on SS when all these years we worked and SS was taken out of our pay, and we paid taxes when we worked. This boggles my mind that we work all our lives and we have to pay for Medicare and pay taxes on SS. It is not fair to the American people. I wish someone had an answer for me.

    • Rose

      It’s because of those in power, whom you NEVER see! The Corporate elite (top 1%), the ones behind the money make the “rules”, and many people are aware that the IRS is NOT constitutional! They’ve been taking from the poor and the so-called “middle class” (which there is not even a middle class anymore) for so long now that people in America are afraid. Also, Social Security would still have more than enough to help everyone, but because of government secret black-ops projects, the ones with all the power take and take and take from our Social Security, and in many other ways including taxes and inflation (which they create!), etc., and then lie to us, as if it’s because of the “baby boomers” and other “reasons” that are not true! They have been stealing from us for so long, Americans don’t even bother to fight for our rights. That’s the short of it. There is far too much to say on the subject, but until people wake up and start seeing where the power really lies, they will not do anything about it.

      • Suzanne

        You are so right on!

        • D. H.

          Get rid of “establishment” politicians from both parties!!!!

        • Razan A.

          I feels on fair when the SSa give me good care for all my health lncloud dentith , crowns …….. ?

      • cassandra

        You are right, but It is not Right that a Government taxes our income 2x’s like that

        • Angela

          Absolutely. You’re taxed when you give it and you’re taxed when you get it.

        • George B.

          Right, Cassandra, they should let you withdraw all your past contributions “tax free” and then tax(at your rate) all the gain. But they don’t because it is NOT a 401-K or an IRA, because SS is just ANOTHER tax on your pay, in addition to what YOU have held back for the federal and state taxes!

      • dottie b.

        our great country is being pulled down because of the greed and power thirsty few that we have placed in positions to govern. These people have to know that the people is the government not the servants we vote in to represent the mass. Changes will come to the detriment of those few greedy ones.

      • Mike W.

        I don’t blame the rich elite, they also pay taxes. I blame the crooked and corrupt politicians on both sides republicans and democrats, they make the laws, not the people nor the rich.

        • Caryl

          Not so! There is a cap on how much of your income is taxable for social security. So, if you are very rich you don’t have to pay SS.

          • Caryl

            Sorry, I meant to add …you don’t have to say SS taxes on your whole income.

          • Maryann A.

            The rich always find loopholes to save on their tax debt. Those who aren’t in that tax bracket don’t fit those loopholes and are stuck paying full taxes

      • Tim

        The government tell us that the amount of SS recipients before the “Baby Boomers” was less than today and the ones that are paying today into the system is less. They are saying there’s not enough coming in to pay the “Baby Boomers”. So what happened to the excess they paid in when they were working?

      • Barbara

        Rose, the elite 1% have nothing to do with why social security is taxed. The Government (congress) has not indexed the threshold for paying taxes on social security benefits since 1983. 1983, can you believe that!! At that time singles with AGI over $25,000 up to $34,000, and married couples AGI over $32,000 up to $44,000 had to pay taxes on up to 50% of their social security benefits. Singles AGI over
        $34,000 and married AGI over $44,00 have up to 85% of their benefits taxed. It has been over 30 years and they have not raised that threshold. How many middle class married couples retiring in the last few years have AGI less than $32,000. They adjust threshholds on earned income for working people, why they refuse to raise the threshold for SS recipients is very sad and leaves retired people paying a very high price to receive their benefits. If we had known we would incur big taxes after retiring we would have not had my husband work till 69. Every dollar extra he got in SS benefits for working longer goes to taxes, not sure it was worth the extra time working. What the Government gives, the Government takes away. Hopefully they will raise those thresholds in the next few years, but don’t count on it!

    • John O.

      Well there are 2 answers, the conspiracy answer in which the man behind the curtain is the evil one, and there is the real answer. I’ll try best to give you the real answer. SS retirement is similar to contributory retirement plans. In those plans you pay tax on that portion received in which you made no contribution. SS taxes up to 85% of an amount over the income threshold for that reason. Of course those on limited minimal income pay nothing. In fact the entire SS payout formula is skewed to favor to lower income worker. Most of us will live beyond the point in which we get back everything we ever paid in. Now the fact that the threshold amounts are not indexed for inflation is in my mind wrong and we should lobby congress to have this changed.

      • Dick W.

        Agree. The misleading part is that there’s no SS Fund as the Gov’t takes the funds into the general account and leaves an IOU in the SS bucket. This is a Ponzi scheme, unravelling because the number of contributors (workers) is growing proportionally smaller than recipients.

      • dottie b.

        social security no matter what formula was devised to pay out to only those putting in money not to refugees, illegal foreigners etc.

        • Mike W.

          Your right Dottie

        • Shelley

          You are so right Dottie.

        • Linda

          Sadly, too true.

        • Maryann A.

          I agree. illegals and those not contributing to the United States should not be allowed to get benefits like medicaid, education, etc paid medications. If we quit being so generous and they have to work and pay just like the rest of us they might not be as anxious to come here. We pay for them, their kids, those pushing drugs and everything else. Ive heard of families who have every child of theirs on a disability check for anxiety, etc just to get extra money. we need a better monitoring system for the abusers

    • marcy s.

      my husband and i were just talking,i been getting ss.for 2years,this year i have to pay over 500.00 to the irs because i didn’t know i needed to have taxes taken out,which sems very very on fair.

    • clem

      I fully agree it is hard to live on Social Security alone as it is

    • Carol R.

      We didn’t pay taxes on the SS that was deducted from our paychecks.

      • George

        Why do you think we did not pay TAXES on SS ?

  8. S R.

    What is even worse is that those threshold levels of income that make someone subject to this tax, are NOT indexed to inflation. In not too many years, half of all SS recipients will be paying tax on these benefits.

  9. Geraldine L.

    It’s a shame that we are double taxes.

  10. George B.

    And isn’t a damned shame the SS money goes to general funds and that we’re taxed on it as ordinary income. Boo!

    • Seymour &.

      The Congress should forfeit all retirement benefits until such time as the SS funds are replenished and the IOU’s are destroyed.

      • George

        The problem is that the SS system was sold to the American people as an Insurance Program (OASI).

        In fact, it is just another Federal Income Tax program with no ownership by the payers in the so-called Trust.

        There is one set of “laws” to determine how much you are taxed and another set of “laws” to determine when and how much you will receive from the federal government.

      • Ira (.

        I agree with 125%. They have that money a lot of months now. They think that money belongs to the government. Congress get a nice pay increase every year and it was vote on by them. So they don’t have worry about it.

    • Clarence

      I recommend changing the Presidential Election Campaign box on the IRS Forms 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ to the Social Security Solvency box and donating the $3/$6 to Social Security. There’s way to much money from special interest groups, lobbyists and Super PACS going to election campaigns these days to warrant having the Presidential Election Campaign box any longer. It doesn’t need shoring up. “

      If the “stubborn” politicians try to derail that then just Create a box right beside it asking taxpayers to contribute $1 or more to the Social Security Fund when filling their taxes. If game playing politicians won’t fix Social Security, “We the People will”. Thank you.

      • FRED T.

        Amen Brother!!

        • Herb

          Good luk with that.

      • Margaret J.


        • Maryann A.

          This is so true! Politicians make sure they get their fat checks and raises, and millions are sent to our enemies without the people consenting so they can receive special favors. Generations of medicaid abusers go unchecked and get all their medical bills and medications. Those of us on Social Security who worked and paid into it for retirement have to struggle and get extra coverage for their medical bills, medicare payments, and medications that are ridiculous to pay for, especially when we are in the gap, which they manage to raise to keep you in longer. Those who abuse get everything and those who are on Social Security struggle. the government keeps those on medicaid so they can count on their votes at election time.

      • Linda

        Agree completely. I can’t afford all my meds.

      • Dee

        That is one great idea and its so simple!!!

Comments are closed.