Good afternoon Phillip,
I'm Doug, and I'm sorry to hear of the confusion. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.
There are two ways to deal with retroactive payments from social security on your income tax return.
First you can report the retroactive income in the year in which you received it. If you do this however, the taxable portion of your benefits will all be taxed using that year's tax rate that you happen to fall in.
The other way to deal with the retroactive benefits is known as the "lump sum election". Using this method you are allowed to determine your tax rate on the payment as if you had been receiving the benefits dating back to the first payment date represented by the retroactive payment
With the lump sum election, you are allowed to factor in all of your deductions for every year in which you should have received benefits.
Here is a link to an IRS article on lump sum election: http://www.taxmap.ntis.gov/taxmap/pubs/p915-003.htm
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I wish you and yours the best in 2016,