2023 Tax Season: Do Seniors Receiving Social Security Need to File Taxes?

Social Security retirement benefits are an essential source of financial support for millions of Americans over the age of 65, but with tax season now underway, many are questioning if they are required to file a tax return. To put it simply, senior citizens must follow the same tax requirements as other adults and most need to file taxes every year.

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Social Security on Seniors (Photo: iStock.com)

If Social Security is your only form of income, then it is not taxable according to Tax Shark. For married couples who file jointly, this must be true of both spouses. If your taxable income is below $14,700, or $27,300 for married couples, you will not be liable for income tax and will not need to file a tax return.

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Social Security benefits have been taxable since 1983 when a recipient’s earnings reach a certain threshold. However, even for the highest earners on Social Security, the full amount will never be taxed in full. The top tax level is 85% of the total Social Security benefit received.

To be taxed on your Social Security benefits, your total gross income must be at least $25,000 or $32,000 for couples who file jointly. This is to ensure that those who rely on their benefit payments for survival are able to keep the full support. If you earn more than that, up to 85% of your benefits payments may be subject to tax.

The IRS provides a Figuring Your Taxable Benefits worksheet to calculate your liability for paying tax on Social Security benefits. This month, all Social Security recipients will receive a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099), which details the full amount of benefits received in 2022. Use this to calculate your liability for this tax season.

In conclusion, while most senior citizens must file taxes, they are not required to pay tax on their Social Security benefits if their taxable income is below a certain threshold. It is essential to keep track of your taxable income and use the Figuring Your Taxable Benefits worksheet to determine if you are liable to pay tax on your benefits.

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