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Understanding State Taxes on Social Security: A Comprehensive Guide

June 3, 2024

Blueprint Income Team

Social Security is a cornerstone of retirement planning in the United States, offering a monthly benefit designed to replace a portion of your pre-retirement income.

While it provides a vital safety net, some states choose to tax a portion of your Social Security benefits, affecting your overall retirement income. Understanding how taxes may impact your Social Security income can help you plan to maximize your Social Security benefits and create a more secure financial future.

Social Security benefits: A foundation for retirement security

Eligibility and benefits

You become eligible to receive Social Security benefits when you reach your full retirement age, which typically falls between 66 and 67 depending on your birth year. The amount you receive is based on your average indexed monthly earnings throughout your working career, with higher earners typically receiving higher benefits. There are different ways to claim your benefits, with each option affecting the total monthly amount you receive. For example, claiming early (as early as 62) will result in a permanently reduced benefit, while delaying your claim past your full retirement age can increase your monthly payout.

Beyond retirement

Social Security isn't solely for retirees. The program also offers benefits to individuals with disabilities who meet certain criteria. Additionally, dependents of deceased workers, including spouses and children, may be eligible for survivors benefits.

Importance of planning

While Social Security is a valuable resource, it's typically designed to replace only a portion of your pre-retirement income (around 40%). This means you'll likely need additional income sources, such as savings, pensions, or part-time work, to maintain your desired lifestyle in retirement. Planning ahead and understanding your Social Security benefits can help you create a secure financial future.

Retirement and taxes

Retirement marks a well-deserved transition, but it also brings a new set of financial considerations. Taxes become a key factor in how much income you keep. Understanding how retirement taxes apply to your savings and Social Security benefits is crucial for maximizing your financial security.

Tax-advantaged vs. taxable accounts

Retirement savings plans offer a variety of tax benefits, but not all are created equal. Traditional IRAs and 401(k)s allow you to contribute pre-tax dollars, reducing your taxable income in the year of contribution. However, withdrawals in retirement are taxed as ordinary income. This means you'll pay taxes on the money you contribute and the investment growth within the account.

Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s offer a different tax advantage. Contributions are made with after-tax dollars, meaning they don't reduce your current taxable income. The key benefit? Qualified withdrawals in retirement are typically tax-free, allowing you to keep more of your hard-earned money.

The Social Security tax question

While Social Security is a vital source of income, a portion of your benefits may be subject to federal income tax. The good news is that many states choose not to tax Social Security benefits at all. However, some states do, which can significantly impact your overall retirement income.

Planning for tax efficiency

By strategically utilizing both tax-advantaged and taxable accounts, you can create a more tax-efficient retirement plan. Maxing out contributions to Roth accounts allows your money to grow tax-free, providing a tax-advantaged income stream in retirement. Additionally, researching your state's tax laws on Social Security can help you plan your residency or minimize your tax burden.

States that don't tax Social Security benefits

Fortunately, many states recognize the importance of Social Security as a safety net for retirees and choose not to tax these benefits at all. This allows residents to keep more of their hard-earned money and enjoy a more secure retirement. Here's a comprehensive list of states that don't tax Social Security benefits (as of April 18, 2024):

  • Alabama.
  • Alaska.
  • Arizona.
  • Arkansas.
  • California.
  • Delaware.
  • Florida.
  • Georgia.
  • Hawaii.
  • Idaho.
  • Illinois.
  • Indiana.
  • Iowa.
  • Kentucky.
  • Louisiana.
  • Maine.
  • Maryland.
  • Massachusetts.
  • Michigan.
  • Mississippi.
  • Missouri (as of 2024).
  • Nebraska (tax is being phased out and will be eliminated entirely in 2024).
  • Nevada.
  • New Hampshire.
  • New Jersey.
  • New York.
  • North Carolina.
  • North Dakota (previously taxed benefits but no longer does).
  • Ohio.
  • Oklahoma.
  • Oregon.
  • Pennsylvania.
  • South Carolina.
  • South Dakota.
  • Tennessee.
  • Texas.
  • Virginia.
  • Washington.
  • West Virginia (previously taxed benefits but is phasing out the tax over three years).
  • Wisconsin.
  • Wyoming.

Looking at the extensive list above, it's clear that a large portion of the United States doesn't tax Social Security benefits. This is a major financial advantage for retirees, allowing them to stretch their income further.

It's no surprise, then, that many people consider state tax laws on Social Security when making retirement relocation decisions. Choosing a state without Social Security taxes can make a significant difference to your monthly income and overall financial security in your golden years.

While many states offer a welcome exemption on Social Security taxes, this typically applies only to those specific benefits. Other forms of retirement income, such as withdrawals from traditional IRAs or 401(k)s, will likely still be subject to state income taxes.

States that charge tax on Social Security benefits

There are nine states that currently collect taxes on Social Security benefits.


Colorado has a flat income tax rate of 4.40%, which applies to Social Security benefits for residents under 65 years old. However, Colorado offers some relief for seniors. Residents over 65 can deduct either $24,000 or their taxable pension/annuity income (including Social Security benefits), whichever is smaller, from their federal taxable income. This deduction significantly reduces or even eliminates the state income tax burden on Social Security benefits for many Colorado retirees.


Connecticut utilizes a progressive tax system with multiple tax brackets ranging from 3% to 6.99%. Social Security benefits for Connecticut residents are generally taxed at the same rate as their overall income based on these tax brackets.

However, Connecticut applies a cap on the taxable amount of Social Security benefits. This means even if a larger portion of your benefits are federally taxable, only a specific amount is subject to Connecticut state income tax.


Kansas has a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 3.1% to 5.7%. However, Social Security benefits are exempt from state income tax for residents with a federal adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less, regardless of filing status. This means if your total income falls below this threshold, you won't pay any state taxes on your Social Security benefits in Kansas.


Minnesota also uses a progressive income tax system, with rates ranging from 5.35% to 9.85%. Fortunately, Minnesota allows taxpayers to deduct a portion of their Social Security benefits from their AGI if they meet certain income thresholds. A new law allows taxpayers with AGIs below $100,000 for married joint returns or $78,000 for single filers to deduct all taxable Social Security benefits. This deduction can significantly reduce or eliminate the state tax burden for many retirees in Minnesota.


Montana has a tiered income tax system with rates ranging from 1.0% to 6.75%. A portion of your Social Security benefits may be taxable in Montana, but the exact amount depends on your income level. Montana offers deductions for certain income brackets, so the more income you have, the greater the portion of your Social Security benefits that might be subject to state taxes.

New Mexico

New Mexico has a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 1.70% to 5.90%. However, recent changes have made Social Security benefits largely exempt for most seniors in the state. New Mexico offers exemptions for single filers with income below $100,000, married couples filing jointly below $150,000, and married couples filing separately below $75,000.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island has three tax rates from 3.75% to 5.99% that apply to all taxable income, including Social Security benefits for residents who haven't reached full retirement age. However, Rhode Island offers an exemption for those who have reached full retirement age and receive Social Security benefits. To qualify for the exemption, your income must fall below a specific threshold (around $95,800 for single filers and $119,750 for married filing jointly in 2022).


Utah has a flat income tax rate of 4.65%. This rate applies to all taxable income, including Social Security benefits. However, Utah offers a tax credit for Social Security benefits based on AGI thresholds. The credit amount increases as your AGI decreases. This can help offset some of the tax burden for lower-income retirees in Utah.


Vermont has a progressive income tax system with rates ranging from 3.35% to 8.75% and offers an exemption for taxpayers with low to middle-income levels. The exemption applies in full for married filing jointly and civil union filing jointly up to $65,000 in AGI. For all other filers, the income threshold for the full exemption is $50,000. Beyond these levels, the exemption starts to phase out, meaning a larger portion of your Social Security benefits becomes taxable.

West Virginia

West Virginia previously taxed Social Security benefits at the same rate as all income. However, the state has begun phasing out this tax. In 2023, a portion of benefits remained taxable, but this is scheduled for complete elimination in the coming years. It's important to stay up to date on the latest tax laws in West Virginia to understand how Social Security benefits will be taxed in the future.

h2>Planning for a secure and tax-efficient retirement

Social Security offers a vital foundation for retirement income, but navigating the tax implications of these benefits can be complex. While many states choose not to tax Social Security at all, some states do, and their tax structures vary.

Understanding how your state taxes Social Security, along with exploring tax-advantaged retirement accounts, are crucial steps in maximizing your retirement income. Consulting with a financial advisor can provide personalized guidance to help you develop a tax-efficient retirement plan and ensure your golden years are financially secure.


Blueprint Income Team

We are a team of finance, insurance, and actuarial professionals working to make it easier for everyone to achieve a steady and comfortable retirement. We write about annuities (the good and the bad) and provide strategies to help Americans prepare for retirement.


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