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If he only earns social security then yes SS normally are untaxable. If he makes an earned wage plus and social security, some may be taxable. From the IRS:
(1) If you're a single filer and in 2016 your combined income as defined above is between $25,000 and $34,000, up to 50% of your Social Security benefits may be taxed. If your combined income is more than $34,000, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxed.
(2) If you're married and filing jointly in 2015, combined income of between $32,000 and $44,000 means that up to 50% of your Social Security benefits may be taxed. Combined income topping $44,000 means up to 85% of your benefits may be taxed.
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