Time goes by so quickly, it can be easy to forget important deadlines and even easier to let critical items fall behind on your to-do list. Tax Time is right around the corner. If you haven’t filed your tax return yet, now is the time. However, before you begin, you should make sure you have everything you need.
Are Social Security benefits taxable? They are sometimes. About one third of beneficiaries pay taxes on their Social Security. If your total income, including Social Security and all of your other taxable income, is $25,000 or more, you’ll need to pay federal taxes on your benefits. That amount is $32,000 for married couples filing a joint return.
Will I get a tax form for my Social Security benefits? Yes, and you should have already received it. Social Security Benefit Statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2011 were mailed to beneficiaries and should have been received by January 31, 2012. If you receive Social Security and haven’t received your 1099, you can request one online at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps6z/i1099/main.html. Make sure your address with Social Security is current. Most people receive their payments direct deposit and forget to update their address. You can change your address online.
We had a baby in 2011. Do we need a Social Security number for our taxes? Yes. Most parents apply for their baby’s Social Security number while still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate. However, if you didn’t, you’ll need to apply for your child’s Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return. You’ll also need it if you ever apply for government benefits on behalf of the child or your family.
I changed my name when I got married last year. Do I need to report it to Social Security? Yes. If you’ve legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security. Make sure you change your name with your employer as well. If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded. You can learn more about Social Security numbers and how to change your name on your Social Security’s record by going to www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber.
Does Social Security have any advice to make tax filing and future benefit applications go smoothly? We strongly encourage you to check your name, Social Security number and all of the data on your W-2s and on your Social Security Statement is correct. A mismatch could delay your tax refund and might cause problems with your Social Security benefits in the future. Such errors are easy to fix now. If you do notice an error, you should contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), or if the incorrect information is on the W-2s, contact the personnel department of your employer.
Be aware of these Social Security tax tips, and you won’t be caught off-guard. For more information about Social Security, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.