Which US States Tax Social Security Checks?

Social Security benefits are a welcome source of income for most retirees, but many are unpleasantly surprised to find out that, under certain circumstances, the federal government taxes Social Security benefits. Even more surprising to some is that certain states also apply their own tax on the amount of the checks. However, fortunately, not many states fall into this category. In fact, even those that do tax Social Security often offer exemptions or ways to reduce or eliminate the tax, usually based on age or income.

States That Do Not Tax Social Security Benefits

Thirty-nine states, plus the District of Columbia, do not tax Social Security benefits. These states include the nine that have no income tax at all, which are:

  • Alaska
  • South Dakota
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

It’s worth noting that although New Hampshire imposes a 5% tax on investment income (dividends and accrued interest), it does not tax wages or Social Security payments.

The remaining 32 states, in addition to the District of Columbia, implement various credits or exemptions to help taxpayers avoid state taxes on Social Security. These are:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Colorado
  • North Dakota
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington, D.C.

If you live in any of these states, or in the District of Columbia, you won’t have to worry about paying state taxes on your Social Security income.

States That Reduce Taxes on Social Security Payments in Some Cases

In addition to the states that do not tax the money that comes in Social Security checks, there are others that apply tax reductions based on age or income. These include:

  • Connecticut
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Utah

If you live in any of these states mentioned above, you may not have to worry about state taxes on your Social Security benefits or you may benefit from tax exemptions or reductions. However, it is important to consult a tax advisor or further research your state’s specific tax regulations to ensure you fully understand your tax obligations and opportunities to minimize your taxes in retirement.

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