The federal government can tax plenty of types of retirement income — including Social Security benefits.
As if that isn’t enough, there are a number of state governments that also expect a cut from your Social Security income.
In fact, there are 13 states that tax Social Security benefits:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Whether your Social Security retirement benefits are subject to federal income taxes is determined by your tax filing status and what the U.S. Social Security Administration calls your “combined income.” This is your wages and self-employment income, interest and dividends and other taxable income.
If your benefits are subject to federal taxes, the federal government will tax up to 85% of your benefits.
How Do States Tax Social Security Benefits?
States that tax Social Security benefits do so according to their own rules, which can vary from state to state and differ from the federal tax code. Therefore, even if your benefits aren’t subject to federal taxes, they could still be subject to state income taxes — or vice versa. It depends on how a state taxes income and whether it offers any tax breaks that apply to Social Security income.
For example, Connecticut offers some residents a full exemption from state income tax for benefits. These residents pay no taxes on Social Security income if one of the following situations applies: (i) their federal filing status is single or married filing separately, and their federal adjusted gross income is less than $50,000; or (ii) their federal filing status is married filing jointly, head of household or qualifying widow/widower and their federal adjusted gross income is less than $60,000.