2015 Social Security Taxable?

Feb 18, 2016 by

Social Security Administration logoAre your 2015 Social Security benefits taxable?

Like almost everything in the world of U.S. income tax, the answer is: it depends.

Do You Owe Tax on Your 2015 Social Security Benefits?

If you don’t owe tax on your 2015 Social Security income, you may not be required to file a tax return at all!

Here’s a quick way to learn whether you’re likely to owe:

  1. Total up your 2015 Social Security income (check your SSA-1099 for this total).
  2. Divide the number from step 1 by 2 (i.e., halve it).
  3. Total up all your other, non-Social Security 2015 income, including any tax-exempt interest.
  4. Add the result in step 2 to the total from step 3.
  5. Find your “base amount” for your filing status. These are:
    • $25,000 if you’re single, head of household, qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child or married filing separately and lived apart from your spouse for all of 2015
    • $32,000 – if you are married filing jointly
    • $0 if you are married filing separately and lived with your spouse at any time during the year
  6. If the Total from step 4 is less than your base amount, you don’t owe tax on your 2015 Social Security income. Yay!

You Don’t Owe Tax on Social Security. So Must You File a Return?

If all of your 2015 income was Social Security, not only will you likely own no tax, you may not have to file a tax return at all!

The IRS has a handy interactive tool that will tell you in the end whether you need to file a return:

Do I Need to File a Tax Return?

Do you have to file?

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