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Navigating Retirement Taxes: Which States Tax Social Security Benefits?

As retirement approaches, many individuals eagerly anticipate the benefits of their hard-earned Social Security payments. However, what some might not realize is that the tax treatment of these benefits can vary significantly from state to state. While the federal government taxes Social Security benefits under certain conditions, states have their own rules and regulations regarding taxation. In this blog post, we'll explore which states tax Social Security benefits and what factors retirees should consider when planning their finances.

Understanding Federal Taxation of Social Security Benefits:

Before diving into state-specific regulations, it's essential to understand how Social Security benefits are taxed at the federal level. The federal government uses a formula known as "combined income" to determine the taxable portion of Social Security benefits. Combined income includes adjusted gross income, nontaxable interest, and half of the Social Security benefits.

Individuals who file as single and have a combined income between $25,000 and $34,000 may have to pay income tax on up to 50% of their Social Security benefits. For those with a combined income exceeding $34,000, up to 85% of their benefits may be subject to taxation. Married couples filing jointly have similar thresholds, with the taxation thresholds ranging from $32,000 to $44,000.

State Taxation of Social Security Benefits:

While the federal government provides guidelines for taxing Social Security benefits, individual states have the authority to determine their own tax policies. As of 2024, there are twelve states that tax Social Security benefits. These states have their own rules and thresholds for taxing Social Security, so the amount of benefits subject to state tax may vary depending on the retiree's overall income and other factors. Here are the states that tax Social Security benefits in 2024:

1. Colorado

2. Connecticut

3. Kansas

4. Minnesota

5. Missouri

6. Montana

7. Nebraska

8. New Mexico

9. North Dakota

10. Rhode Island

11. Utah

12. Vermont

It is important to note that each state has its own rules and income thresholds for taxing Social Security benefits. Retirees should review the specific tax policies of their state and consider consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional to understand how state taxes may affect their retirement income.

Factors to Consider:

When planning for retirement, individuals should consider several factors related to state taxation of Social Security benefits:

1. State of Residence: Retirees should be aware of the tax policies in their state of residence and how they may impact their overall retirement income.

2. Tax Bracket: Understanding how Social Security benefits will be taxed in conjunction with other sources of income can help retirees anticipate their tax liabilities accurately.

3. Cost of Living: While some states tax Social Security benefits, they may offer other tax breaks or have a lower overall cost of living, which can offset the tax burden.

4. Retirement Income Sources: Retirees who rely heavily on Social Security benefits for income may find states with favorable tax treatment more appealing.


As retirees plan for their golden years, it's crucial to consider the tax implications of Social Security benefits. While the federal government provides guidelines for taxation, individual states have the authority to implement their own tax policies. Understanding which states tax Social Security benefits and the associated regulations can help retirees make informed decisions about where to live and how to manage their finances in retirement. Consulting with a financial advisor or tax professional can provide personalized guidance based on individual circumstances and goals.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog post is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or tax advice. While efforts are made to ensure accuracy, we do not guarantee the completeness or reliability of the information. Before making any financial decisions or changes, it is advisable to consult with a qualified professional who can assess your individual circumstances and provide tailored advice. We disclaim any liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the information provided herein.


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