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I got married in December 2016 and up until November 2016 my spouse was receiving social security benefits. Since our combined income exceeds the threshold for receiving benefits, she had the benefits stopped from December onward.

We've received a SSA-1099 form showing the benefits she received for the first 11 months of 2016. Should I report this if I'm filing taxes jointly? Will that income be considered taxable even though we weren't married when she was receiving benefits?

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Your filing status is determined at the end of the year. As you were married as of 12/31/2016, you will have to file a married return and if you file married filing jointly, the income will have to be included on the return.

You could look into the married filing separately status, but it is rarely beneficial. If you are in a community property state, it will not work out in your favor.

Whether all of her benefits will be taxable depends on your income in total.

  • This is a good answer, but I'm wondering what you meant by "If you are in a community property state, it will not work out in your favor." Can you elaborate on this? How does the state affect your federal tax return? – Ben Miller Apr 22 '17 at 12:34
  • Sure @BenMiller. In a community property state if you're married everything purchased or earned after marriage is considered community property. Because of this, the Married Filing Separate status is rarely successful because even wages earned by one spouse are considered 50/50. Essentially is you file separately, you are getting a worse rate for the same return (if it's filed correctly). Also, Federal treatment of community property states is codified in the IRS tax code. – mikeford Apr 23 '17 at 2:53

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