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Part Time Employment and Soc Security

In filling out a W-4 form for part time employment, is it required to include social security in Step 4 of the W-4 Form as "Other Income"?

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Thank you for your reply.  After searching for two hours, I did find one answer that was simple: "If your Social Security benefits are your only source of income, then they are usually not considered taxable income and thus not taxed.  After some searching for the right answer, I have a better idea of how to fill out the form.  Thank you again.

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Thank you for your reply.  After searching for two hours, I did find one answer that was simple: "If your Social Security benefits are your only source of income, then they are usually not considered taxable income and thus not taxed.  After some searching for the right answer, I have a better idea of how to fill out the form.  Thank you again.

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@RosemarieF141721 


This is a simple question but the answer may not be as simple.

 

The instructions for W-4 state "If you want tax withheld for other income you expect this year that won’t have withholding, enter the amount of other income here. This may include interest, dividends, and retirement income." My interpretation of this is that it's not mandatory to include Social Security income in Step 4; so no one's going to be arrested for not doing so! (On the other hand people have been arrested/indicted for claiming too many exemptions in order to grossly reduce their tax withheld.)

 

I recall reading in an IRS document that our income taxes are intended to be a "pay as you go" system, where taxes are paid on income as it comes in, and then all accounting is reconciled when we do our tax returns. "Paying as we go" includes payroll withholding, quarterly estimated payments, and withholding on Social Security, pensions, etc. As a consequence there can be a financial penalty if the total tax paid through the year does not meet some "safe harbor" provision, which if I recall correctly is something like 90% of current year tax or 100% of the previous year's tax. So there is incentive to get the W-4 accurate and also to pay estimated taxes if needed.

 

Social Security is not taxed up to some level of income. Then tax kicks in and the % of SS that is taxed increases (from 0%) up to 85%. The maximum portion of the SS benefit that is subject to federal income tax is 85% (since we and our employer paid income tax on the other 15% during our working years). So one needs to be careful with putting Social Security benefits on the W-4 as additional income, if you enter your entire benefit then you may have too much withheld from your paycheck. And don't let the taxman double-dip by including this on your W-4 as well as having the SSA withhold tax.

 

There are many "withholding calculators" on the internet and I'm sure that some must account for Social Security income. I found one that the IRS provides at https://apps.irs.gov/app/tax-withholding-estimator . I didn't say this one was simple, it's pretty involved but shows what is necessary for trying to work through the problem of determining tax withholding. Really what one is doing is preparing their taxes for the next April 15 so they have sufficient tax withheld to cover their total tax bill...but without having had too much cash withheld.

 

TurboTax and Quicken have similar withholding calculators. Maybe even AARP does.

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

adding:   safe harbor rules from https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estimated-taxes

 

Generally, most taxpayers will avoid this penalty if they owe less than $1,000 in tax after subtracting their withholdings and credits, or if they paid at least 90% of the tax for the current year, or 100% of the tax shown on the return for the prior year, whichever is smaller

 

also:    another W-4 calculator, from TurboTax, very similar to the IRS's https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/calculators/w4/

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Before I retired I worked very hard to dial-in my W-4 withholding so that it would match as close as possible to my actual tax bill. Got pretty good at it too. Now I'm starting from scratch again with being retired. haha.

I've always been proud to pay my taxes in-full and on-time. Again, haha.

 

I used to hang out at the post office waiting for those paper tax forms to come in after Christmas. (what a dweeb!  haha)

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