Can You Get a Tax Refund on Social Security? Explained.

Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr

As the tax season approaches, many people start wondering about the possibility of receiving a refund. For those who receive social security benefits, it may be unclear whether they are eligible for a tax refund or not. In this article, we will explain whether you can get a tax refund on social security and how it works.

Can You Get a Tax Refund on Social Security? Explained.

Can You Get a Tax Refund on Social Security?

Yes, you can get a tax refund if your total income is less than your deductions for the year. This means that if your only source of income is social security and it is below the taxable threshold, then you should be able to receive a full refund of any income taxes paid throughout the year.

Here are some key facts to keep in mind regarding taxes and social security:

  • Social security benefits may be taxable: If you have additional sources of income along with social security benefits such as wages or self-employment earnings that exceed $25,000 (or $32,000 for married couples filing jointly), then your social security benefits could be partially taxable.
  • Filing requirements: Even if your only source of income is from social security and it isn’t taxable under federal law regulations in most cases; but there might be other considerations that require filing taxes annually based on age bracket or state taxation policies.

How to Claim Your Tax Refund

If you believe that you should qualify for a tax refund due to low-income earnings from Social Security Benefits etc., here’s what you need to do:

  • Complete IRS Form 1040: Use this form as an annual fill-out document while claiming refunds based upon certain situations – this includes when there was withheld money incorrectly from paychecks during work years past retirement age onto current supplemental payments like pensioners’ annuities paid by governments/private institutions also included among others.
  • Provide Proof through supporting documents: Supporting documents such as W-2 forms, 1099 forms, and other tax-related bills or receipts are needed to prove that your total income is less than your allowable deductions.
  • Wait for the IRS response: After submitting your claim; wait for IRS review – It can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months depending on their level of workload at any given moment.

Understanding the Taxability of Social Security Benefits

It’s crucial to understand that not all Social Security benefits are taxable. The IRS looks at your combined income, which includes your adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income exceeds a certain threshold, you may have to pay taxes on a portion of your Social Security benefits.

For example, if you’re an individual and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of your benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000, up to 85% of your benefits may be taxable. For couples filing jointly, the thresholds are $32,000 and $44,000.

Case Study: John’s Tax Refund

Let’s consider a real-life example. John is a retired individual whose only income is Social Security benefits. In 2023, he received $24,000 in Social Security benefits. Since his income is below the $25,000 threshold, his benefits are not taxable, and he doesn’t need to file a tax return.

However, John had a part-time job for a few months at the beginning of the year and earned $2,000. His employer withheld federal income tax from his wages. Even though John’s total income of $26,000 ($24,000 from Social Security benefits and $2,000 from wages) is still below the $34,000 threshold, he decides to file a tax return to get a refund of the income tax withheld from his wages.

Tips for Claiming Your Tax Refund

If you’re in a similar situation as John, here are some tips to help you claim your tax refund:

  • File a tax return: Even if your income is not taxable, you should still file a tax return if you had any federal income tax withheld from your wages or made any estimated tax payments.
  • Claim all your deductions: Make sure to claim all the deductions you’re eligible for. This can reduce your taxable income and increase your tax refund.
  • Seek professional help: If you’re unsure about your tax situation, consider seeking help from a tax professional or a free tax preparation service like the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.


In summary, receiving social security benefits does not automatically disqualify you from receiving a tax refund. If your total income is below the taxable threshold after accounting for all deductions and exemptions, then you may be eligible for a full refund of any taxes paid throughout the year. Remember these key points when it comes to taxes and social security: report all sources of income in accordance with local regulations if applicable; despite being exempt under federal law there might be additional state regulations requires filing annually based on age bracket or geography etc.; always get proper guidance from certified professionals regarding eligibility criteria related doubts before claiming refunds.