Taxes can be withheld from Social Security benefits

Farm Forum

QAre taxes withheld from Social Security benefits?

ATaxes are not routinely withheld from Social Security benefits, but especially during this time of year, another popular question is whether taxes can voluntarily be withheld from SSA payments. Yes, you can request voluntary Federal tax withholding from your monthly benefit. You may find doing this easier than paying quarterly estimated tax payments. Instructions and the required Internal Revenue Service (IRS) form to do this are at Voluntary withholding is only for Federal taxes, not state or local ones.

Start withholding by completing IRS Form W-4V, Voluntary Withholding Request, and returning it to your local Social Security office. Withholding is by percentage of benefits, not a flat dollar amount. Options are to have 7 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent of your monthly benefits withheld. Complete another form W-4V to change or end withholding.

Social Security employees cannot provide tax advice. If voluntary withholding interests you, discuss it with your tax preparer or call IRS at 1-800-829-3676 (TTY 1-800-829-4059).

Did you know? The Social Security Annual Statistical Supplement, 2013, is now available at

The Supplement has statistical tables with lots of data about Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) ) programs and the separate Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Information includes beneficiary counts, benefit amounts, trust fund status, program summaries and legislative histories to help you understand these programs.

In addition to Social Security administered programs, there is information about Medicare and Medicaid, and other social insurance programs, including workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, temporary disability insurance, Black Lung benefits and veterans’ benefits.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at Read his online articles at