Publication 915 (2023): Social Security and Equivalent Railroad Retirement Benefits

This official IRS publication clarifies how federal income taxes apply to your Social Security benefits and similar tier 1 railroad retirement benefits received in tax year 2023.

What is Publication 915?

A resource jointly published by the IRS, Social Security Administration (SSA), and U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). It explains how much of your Social Security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits may be taxable for the 2023 tax year.

Who should read Publication 915?

  1. Individuals who received Social Security benefits (retirement, survivor, or disability) in 2023.
  2. Individuals who received equivalent Tier 1 railroad retirement benefits in 2023.

Key points covered in Publication 915:

A. Taxability of benefits:

  • Generally, not taxable if your only income in 2023 was Social Security or equivalent railroad retirement benefits.
  • May become taxable if you have additional income besides these benefits.

B. Base amount:

Used to determine the taxable portion of your benefits.

Varies depending on your filing status:

  1. Single, Head of Household, or Qualifying Surviving Spouse: $25,000
  2. Married Filing Separately and lived apart all year: $25,000
  3. Married Filing Jointly or Married Filing Separately: Combined adjusted gross income (AGI)

C. Calculating taxable benefits:

Publication 915 provides worksheets to help you:

  1. Determine your combined income from all sources (including half of your spouse's income if filing jointly).
  2. Compare your combined income to your base amount.
  3. Calculate the taxable portion of your benefits based on the comparison.

For the current year's Publication 915, click here.