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You are right. I was thinking that SS taxation was based on Earned Income. That will teach me to write without checking.

If the total of your taxable pensions, wages, interest, dividends, and other taxable income, plus any tax-exempt interest income, plus half of your Social Security benefits are more than a base amount, some of your benefits will be taxable. The base amount is $0 for marrieds filing separately who lived with their spouses at any time during the year; $25,000 for singles, heads of households, and marrieds filing separately who didn't live with their spouses; and $32,000 for those who are married filing jointly. These dollar amounts are not indexed for inflation.

The amount of your Social Security benefits that you must include in taxable income depends on the total of your income plus half of your benefits. The higher the total, the more benefits that must be included in taxable income. You may have to pay income tax on anywhere from 50 percent to 85 percent of your Social Security benefits.

What this means is:
In 2004 the average Social Security benefit for a married couple was $18,276. A couple, filing jointly, with average benefits and a total income from all sources of less than $41,138, was not subject to tax on any Social Security benefits, while a couple with average benefits and total income over $64,355 must include 85 percent of the Social Security, or $15,535, in taxable income.

Sorry for the confusion.

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