Discover the New Learn more



Happy African American couple
AARP Auto Buying Program

Most Popular


Free Fun!

AARP Games - Play Now!


Best Employers for Workers Over 50

See the latest winners of this AARP recognition program.

Employer Resource Center

Attract and retain top talent in a changing workforce.

Social Security Mailbox

Social Security Benefits and Taxes

Will the IRS take a chunk of my payment?

En español | Q. If I sign up for Social Security now while my husband is earning a relatively high income, will the IRS tax a large percentage of my Social Security income?

See also: Collecting benefits while working.

A. It will depend on the amount of your family income. About one-third of people who get Social Security have to pay income taxes on their benefits. You may have to pay federal taxes on some of your benefits if you file a tax return as an individual and your "combined income" is more than $25,000. (Social Security defines combined income as adjusted gross income, plus non-taxable interest and half your Social Security benefit.) If you file a joint return with your spouse, you will have to pay taxes on some of the benefits if that figure is more than $32,000.

As your family income goes up, so may the taxes on your Social Security benefits. At higher income levels, up to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits may be taxed.

Before you sign up for Social Security, you may wish to consult an accountant or other financial adviser to learn your options. You should also check to find out whether your state and local authorities tax benefits — many do not.

Stan Hinden, a former columnist for the Washington Post, wrote How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question for the Social Security Mailbox? Check out the archive. If you don't find your answer there, send a query.

Next: Join the Social Security group. >>

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts


Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.


Jobs You Might Like

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Member Benefits Cricket Wireless Cellular

Members can save $20 on wireless devices from Cricket. Conditions apply.

membership adt

Small business owners save 20% on new installation of any new ADT security system.

UPS Store membership discount aarp benefits

Members save 15% on eligible products/services and 5% on UPS shipping at The UPS Store®.

Member Benefits

Renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points


Advance your skills. Transform your career.

Explore your learning possibilities.