Are Social Security Benefits Taxable?

If you received Social Security benefits, they might be taxable.  It depends on how much other income you had for the year.

The first thing to do when determining of your Social Security benefits are taxable is to add 1/2 of your Social Security benefits to any other income you had.  You then compare that amount to the base amount for your filing status.  If the total exceeds that base amount, then some (but not all) of your Social Security may be taxable.

The base amounts are:

  • $32,000 for married filing jointly
  • $25,000 for all other filing statuses except married filing separately
  • $0 for married filing separately if you lived with your spouse during the year


  1. I wrote this post in 2011 but the base amounts have not changed.
  2. This is very much a general discussion of this issue