Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Level Basic Advanced Military International

Income — Social Security Benefits; Form 1040, Line 20a

Finding the Taxable Portion

Social Security Benefits Worksheet

If taxpayers are filing a joint return, combine both spouses' benefits and other income when completing the worksheet. Even if one spouse did not receive social security benefits, include that spouse's other income.


Wanda and Dan are both retired and will file a joint return. Wanda received Form SSA-1099 with $4,300 in box 5. Dan retired from the railroad and his Form RRB-1099 shows $6,800 in box 5. Wanda and Dan will use the combined benefits of $11,100 and only one worksheet to determine if any of their benefits are taxable.

Tax software hint.

If the taxpayer is itemizing deductions, include Medicare premiums (Part B and D) from Forms SSA-1099 and RRB-1099 so that it flows to Schedule A. Be sure to enter any federal income tax withholding. The tax software will perform all the calculations to determine the taxable amount based on other information on the return. Enter all income, including tax-exempt interest, so the software will correctly calculate the taxability of benefits. Review the Volunteer Resource Guide, Income tab, Railroad Retirement, Civil Service, and Social Security Benefits page, for software entries.

Form 1040, lines for social security benefits and taxable amount.
Social Security Benefits Worksheet

Social Security Benefits Worksheet