When Social Security was initiated (1935), it was excluded from federal income taxation.

The Treasury Department's underlying rationale for not taxing Social Security benefits was that the benefits under the Act could be considered as "gratuities," and since gifts or gratuities were not generally taxable

In 1983, Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law the 1983 Amendments where up to one-half of the value of the Social Security benefit was made potentially taxable income.

In 1983, the Senate Finance Committee Report offered these additional observations: ". . . by taxing social security benefits and appropriating these revenues to the appropriate trust funds, the financial solvency of the social security trust funds will be strengthened. . ."

In 1983, Congress intended that the taxation provisions should not affect "lower-income individuals." The $25,000 for individuals and $32,000 for married filing joint thresholds were included to accomplish this.

In 2018, 35 years later the thresholds are the same, with an addition where if you file joint and make $44,000, more of your Social Security benefits are taxed.

When the law was originally enacted, only about 10% of the people receiving Social Security beneifts were affect by the law. By 1993, approximately 18% were affected. Now, in 2018, about 56% of Social Security beneficiaries are affected by the law.

But, then as now, they do not elect to eliminate the threshold for which Social Security taxes are withheld from payroll, which would also have strengthened the financial solvency of Social Security.

It is now time to modify this law to, at a minimum, raise the threshold as to when Social Security beneficiaries are taxed on their Social Security benefits.

Knoxoasis's picture

Sounds like the AMT. Not

Sounds like the AMT. Not indexing for inflation is bad.

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