Voluntary Income Tax Withholding

Q: Are taxes withheld from Social Security benefits?

A: Taxes are not routinely withheld from Social Security benefits.

Especially during this time of year, a related question is if taxes can be voluntarily withheld from Social Security benefits. They can.

You can request voluntary federal tax withholding from your monthly Social Security benefits. Instructions and the required IRS form to do this are at www.ssa.gov/planners/taxwithold.htm. 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. Download this form at the above link.

Withholding is by percentage of benefits, not a flat dollar amount. Available options are to have 7 percent, 10 percent, 15 percent or 25 percent of your monthly benefits withheld. As desired during the year, complete another form W-4V to change or end withholding.

The Social Security Administration has no authority to withhold state or local taxes from your benefit. Voluntary withholding is only for federal taxes.

Social Security employees process your voluntary tax withholding request but 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).