It depends. The IRS looks at your total income to determine if your Social Security benefits are taxable. It also depends on your filing status. For an individual, if your total income is more than $25,000, then you will have to pay taxes on part of your benefits. For a married couple filing jointly, part of your Social Security benefits are taxable if your total income is more than $32,000.
If your only income is Social Security benefits, and you get less than $25,000 in benefits, then you do not have to pay taxes on your benefits. If you do not have any other source of income, then you would not need to file a tax return.
Let’s say, though, that your main source of income is Social Security benefits of $10,000. You also work a part time job and you make $2,500 for the year. You would not be required to file a tax return. But you might want to file a return, because even though you are not required to pay taxes on your Social Security, you may be able to get a refund of any money withheld from your paycheck for taxes.
If you make more than $25,000 as an individual, or $32,000 as a married couple, a portion of your Social Security benefits are taxable. The percent depends on the amount of your total income. A tax preparer can help you determine what amount of tax you may need to pay.
You can get free tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. VITA has trained volunteers to help you decide if you need to file a tax return. You can call 211 for a VITA site near you.
Iowa Legal Aid provides help to low-income Iowans.
To apply for help from Iowa Legal Aid: call 800-532-1275.
Iowans age 60 and over, call 800-992-8161 or
apply online at iowalegalaid.org
If Iowa Legal Aid cannot help, look for an attorney on “Find A Lawyer” on the Iowa State Bar Association website iowabar.org. A private attorney there can talk with you for a fee of $25 for 30 minutes of legal advice.
*As you read this information, remember this article is not a substitute for legal advice.