Internal Revenue Service

You may have to pay income tax on social security benefits

 Dear Savvy Senior,

Will I have to pay federal income taxes on my Social Security benefits when I retire?

Approaching Retirement

Dear Approaching,

Whether or not you'll be required to pay federal income tax on your Social Security benefits will depend on your income and filing status. About 35 percent of Social Security recipients have total incomes high enough to trigger federal income tax on their benefits.

To figure out if your benefits will be taxable, you'll need to add up all of your "provisional income," which includes wages, taxable and non-taxable interest, dividends, pensions and taxable retirement-plan distributions, self-employment,...