En español | Q. I'm new to Social Security and have been told that I may have to pay federal tax on my benefits. Is that true?
A. It's true. About a third of people who collect Social Security have to pay federal income taxes on their benefits. You'll be liable for those taxes if you file as an individual and your adjusted gross income, untaxed interest and half your Social Security benefit add up to more than $25,000. If you file a joint return with your spouse, you’ll owe taxes if that figure is more than $32,000.
Q. What do I have to do to get Social Security to withhold federal taxes on my monthly benefits?
A. You have to file IRS Form W-4V. Select the percentage of your monthly benefit that you want withheld from the available choices: 7 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent. Then sign the form and return it to your local Social Security office by mail or in person.
You can obtain the form from the IRS website, by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676, or by calling Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing may call Social Security's TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.
Stan Hinden is a former columnist for the Washington Post specializing in retirement issues. He is the author of How to Retire Happy: The 12 Most Important Decisions You Must Make Before You Retire. Have a question? Check out the AARP Social Security Question and Answer Tool.