Good morning Robert,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
The answer to whether you must pay taxes on your social security benefits depends on the amount of total income that you have in any given year. Let me explain.
You can do the following quick computation to determine whether some of your benefits may be taxable:
A. First, add one-half of the total Social Security benefits you received to all your other income, including any tax exempt interest and other exclusions from income.
B. Then, compare this total to the base amount for your filing status. If the total is more than your base amount, some of your benefits may be taxable.
If you are married filing jointly, your base amount is $32,000.
If you are single, your base amount is $25,000.
If you file a federal tax return as an "individual" and your combined income* is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits. If it is more than $34,000, up to 85percent of your benefits may be taxable.
If you file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits. If it is more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
Your adjusted gross income + Nontaxable interest + ½ of your Social Security benefits = Your "combined income".
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I wish you and yours the best in 2016,