News You Can Use: June 2018

Sandy Botkin
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Beware of Social Security Card Scam: Unfortunately, scammers are trying to capitalize on the transition to the new Medicare cards. I just got a call from someone telling me that I must provide my Social Security number and payment to get a new card. This is NOT true. The new card will be automatically sent, and it’s free. Moreover, no information need to be provided in order to get it. If you get a call about this, simply hang up. If you get a recorded message about this, ignore it.

Question from a Taxbot subscriber: If I receive $1,600 per month Social Security benefits, how much additional income can I earn without my benefits being taxed?

Answer: This may surprise some of you, but Social Security benefits become taxable with your “provisional income” exceeds $25,000 for single taxpayers and $32,000 for married couples filing joint returns. For this purpose, provisional income is defined as your adjusted gross income from normal taxable sources PLUS any tax free or municipal bond interest PLUS 50% of your Social Security benefit, which would be $9,600 a year in this example. Subtracting the threshold amounts of $25,000 or $32,000 will tell you how much other income you could earn. Depending on how much your income exceeds the threshold amounts, you could be potentially pay tax on up to 85% of your benefit.

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