Social Security tip: Prepare for tax time

Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 2:36 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 at 2:36 p.m.

April’s showers bring more than just May’s flowers — they also bring the deadline day for filing taxes. Don’t wait until the showers arrive to prepare for tax season.

Whether you are a small business owner, a retiree, or a new parent, here are some Social Security tax tips.

Are Social Security benefits taxable?: They are for some people. About one third of those receiving benefits must pay taxes on some of their Social Security. If your total income, including Social Security and all of your other taxable income, is $25,000 or more and you file federal taxes as an individual, you will need to pay federal taxes on some of your benefits. (That amount is $32,000 for married couples filing a joint return.)

Will I get a tax form for my Social Security benefits?: Yes. In fact, you should have already received it. Social Security Benefit statements (Form SSA-1099) for tax year 2012 were mailed to beneficiaries and should have been received by Jan. 31. If you receive Social Security and haven’t received your 1099, you can request one online at

We had our first child in 2012. Does our baby need a Social Security number?: Yes. Most people apply for their baby’s Social Security number while they’re still in the hospital at the same time they apply for the birth certificate.

But if you didn’t, you will need to apply for your child’s Social Security number in order to claim the child as a dependent on your tax return. You will also need it if you ever apply for government benefits on behalf of the child or your family. Learn more at

I changed my name when I got married last year. Do I need to report it to Social Security?: Yes. If you have legally changed your name due to marriage, divorce, court order, or for any other reason, make sure you change your name with Social Security, as well as with your employer.

If you change with one source but not the other, it could cause your earnings to be improperly recorded. That could result in you not getting all the benefits you earned when you become eligible for Social Security in the future. You can learn more about your Social Security number and how to change your name at

Michael Grochowski is the regional commissioner of the Social Security office in Atlanta.

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