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Author: TMFExRO Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 20000  
Subject: Re: Spouse's earnings and AGI Date: 3/31/2000 11:34 AM
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<< My husband will start collecting SS in May at 63. He was told that the amount of his ss income that would be taxed was only affected by his earnings for the year. What about my salary? Will his ss be taxed if my salary pushes us above the AGI limit? If so, why is it not based soley on his earnings? >>

He was told wrong if he was told that income taxation would be based only on his earnings. I suspect that the issue was the earnings test, which can result in the reduction of Social Security benefits. THAT test involves only his income. There's a lot of confusion going around right now about the difference between these two issues.

For income tax purposes, whether or not his Social Security benefits are taxable depends on your joint income. You could file separate returns, but that would just about guarantee that 85% of his Social Security benefits would be included in his gross income, and the two of you would likely end up paying more total tax.

As for the "why," it's the way the law reads.

Phil Marti
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