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Sorry, retirees: These 12 states still tax Social Security. Is yours one of them?

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Social Security recipients received the largest cost-of-living adjustment in four decades in 2023. But because those payments boosted their incomes, many of those beneficiaries could take a financial hit this tax season.

Retirees may know that the federal government will tax their Social Security, which can include monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits, if their total income exceeds certain amounts. But fewer may realize that some states also will levy a tax.

Only about a dozen states are taxing Social Security benefits this year, and that number will drop further next year. While each state has different rules on what or how they will tax your Social Security money, age and income usually determine if you pay.

It’s best to check with your state’s rules, but here are general guidelines on what you can expect:

Important information: Tax deadlines to keep in mind with Tax Day coming up

Which states tax Social Security benefits?

These dozen states tax benefits:

Colorado: If you’re 65 or older and your Social Security benefits included in you federal taxable income tops $24,000, you can subtract the full amount of those benefits from your Colorado tax returns. However, if you’re under 65 years old, only up to the first $20,000 isn’t taxed.

Connecticut: Single Social Security recipients with adjusted gross income (AGI) below $75,000 and $100,000 for married joint filers aren’t taxed on their benefits. However, if your income tops those thresholds, 25% of your benefits may be taxed.

Kansas: If your AGI tops $75,000, your benefits are taxed.

Minnesota: Social Security benefits are fully or partially exempt from Minnesota’s income tax. Exemptions phase out at $105,380 if married and filing jointly or $82,190 for singles.

Missouri: For one more year, if your AGI, excluding Social Security benefits, reaches $100,000 or more as a married couple filing jointly, or $85,000 as a single filer, you’ll have to pay some tax on your benefits unless the amount your AGI exceeds the threshold is less than your Social Security benefit amount. Beginning in tax year 2024, no one will have to pay tax on Social Security benefits.

Montana: Your AGI will determine how much tax you pay on your Social Security benefits.

Nebraska: For tax year 2023, 60% of your Social Security benefits are exempt from tax. Starting in 2024, you won’t have to pay any tax on Social Security checks.

New Mexico: Only the very top earners must pay tax on their benefits. Most Social Security recipients don’t. Single taxpayers with incomes below $100,000, married filing jointly couples earning less than $150,000, and married filing separately couples below $75,000 are exempt from Social Security tax.

Rhode Island: If your income exceeds $101,000 for single filers or $126,250 if you’re filing jointly, or if you’re younger than what Social Security considers full retirement age, you get no tax break. If you’re below those thresholds, up to $20,000 of your retirement income may be exempt.

Utah: Your benefits will be taxed if your income is $45,000 or more, $75,000 or more if you’re head of household or married filing jointly, or $37,500 if married filing separately. Below those thresholds, you may be able to claim a nonrefundable credit for your benefits.

Vermont: Single taxpayers with AGI below $50,000 and joint filers with AGI below $65,000 don’t pay any tax on their benefits. For all other filers, the income threshold for the full exemption is $50,000. The exemption phases out beyond those levels.

West Virginia: Most lists don’t include West Virginia but if your income hits $100,000 or more for couples filing jointly or $50,000 or more for single filers, your benefits may be taxed.

Opening day: When can you file taxes this year? Here’s when the 2024 tax season opens.

First timers: First time filing your taxes? Here are 5 tips for tax season newbies

How do states tax Social Security?

Methods vary widely so check your state’s laws, but these are generally the ways states will tax Social Security:

Age-based. For example, Coloradans under 65 may owe taxes on Social Security benefits but older people generally don’t.

Income-based. For example, Missouri taxes Social Security benefits only if your income tops $85,000, or $100,000 for married couples, and New Mexico only with income above $100,000 for married couples filing jointly, surviving spouses and heads of household with more than $150,000, and married couples filing separately with more than $75,000 in income.

Taxable income includes Social Security benefits. Minnesota taxes Social Security income that’s considered taxable by the federal government, but some receipients qualify for a Social Security income subtraction when filing their state tax return.

Future plans: Sen. Joe Manchin floats ‘better program’ for future Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries

Delaying Social Security: Earning a paycheck could stop your Social Security benefits. But that could be a good thing.

How much can you make from Social Security without having to pay taxes?

The best way to avoid taxes on Social Security benefits is to limit your income by investing with a Roth IRA while saving. Roth IRA withdrawals aren’t counted as taxable income. They are tax-free.

You can also hope your state eliminates its tax on Social Security benefits, which has been the trend. Missourians and Nebraskans won’t have to pay any tax on Social Security money beginning in tax year 2024.

Retirement tips: Your ultimate guide to retirement: Savings, investments and tax tips to help you thrive

Early Social Security: Retirement considerations: 3 benefits to claiming Social Security early

Medora Lee is a money, markets, and personal finance reporter at USA TODAY. You can reach her at mjlee@usatoday.com and subscribe to our free Daily Money newsletter for personal finance tips and business news every Monday through Friday morning.   

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How much of my Social Security is taxable? It varies by state

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