Is Your Social Security Income Taxable? Here's How to Find Out

Use your Social Security benefit statement to learn whether you need to file a tax return this season.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
Expertise Personal Finance: Social Security and taxes
Nina Raemont Writer
A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Nina started at CNET writing breaking news stories before shifting to covering Security Security and other government benefit programs. In her spare time, she's in her kitchen, trying a new baking recipe.
Katie Teague
Nina Raemont
2 min read
a $100 bill, US Treasury check, and Social Security card, all lined up on top of a US flag

If you lost or didn't receive your Social Security benefit statement, you can access it through an online account. 

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The 2024 tax season is off and running. The IRS sent out almost 3 million tax refunds equaling $3.6 billion in the first week of tax filing. Don't wait until the last minute to prepare your taxes, especially if you receive Social Security and you're not sure whether you need to file a tax return.

Social Security beneficiaries need their benefit statement from the IRS to file a return. This document also helps you figure out if your benefits are taxable this year.

Read more: CNET's Best Tax Software for 2024

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The statements were scheduled to be mailed in January. If for some reason you don't have yours, never fear: We'll explain what to do. We'll also let you know what this document is and why you need to give it a look, so scroll on for more.

For additional info on taxes, here's our take on whether you'll need to file your taxes this year as a Social Security recipient, and here's what parents need to know about the child tax credit.

Social Security benefit statement: What is it? 

The Social Security benefit statement, also known as form SSA-1099, shows you the benefit amount you earned last year. (Noncitizens living outside the US receive SSA-1042S instead.) The statement provides beneficiaries with information they can use when they complete their federal tax return. 

The Social Security Administration has been sending out this form annually since 1999, according to the SSA's website. Supplemental Security Income recipients don't receive this statement. 

Why do you need a benefit statement? 

Generally, Social Security recipients don't have to file a tax return if their primary source of income is their monthly benefits. But for those who have other sources of income as well as Social Security benefits, it can be harder to tell whether they're required to submit a tax return or what percentage of their income is taxable. That's where the Social Security benefit statement comes in handy. 

The statement helps you find out whether your benefits are subject to tax. It shows you how much you earned in benefits from the previous year. You'll use this form when you or a tax preparer prepares your taxes. 

When should I have received my statement?

The SSA typically disburses these statements by mail or through your My Social Security online account throughout January, before the start of tax season. 

Don't have a statement? Here's what to do

US residents can get a replacement form SSA-1099 by visiting their My Social Security online account and requesting a replacement. After you've logged in to your account, find the link that says Replace Your Tax Form SSA-1099/SSA-1042. If you live outside the US, the SSA recommends contacting your Federal Benefits Unit.

Here's how to resolve your Social Security problems and get in touch with an SSA representative.