Q: I have seen conflicting opinions on how the FERS annuity supplement is taxed at the federal level. Is it fully taxed, or is it taxed at 50 percent if your combined income is $32,000 to $44,000 and taxed at 85 percent if your income is $44,000? I start receiving the FERS supplement in June and I have to know how it’s taxed for next year’s tax filing. I retired under FERS. I get the supplement from my MRA of 56 years old until I’m 62 years old.
A: It is taxed as if it were a Social Security benefit. From the ssa.gov website:
“Some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.
No one pays federal income tax on more than 85 percent of his or her Social Security benefits based on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rules. If you:
file a federal tax return as an “individual” and your combined income* is
between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits.
more than $34,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
file a joint return, and you and your spouse have a combined income* that is
between $32,000 and $44,000, you may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of your benefits
more than $44,000, up to 85 percent of your benefits may be taxable.
are married and file a separate tax return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.
Your adjusted gross income
+ Nontaxable interest
+ ½ of your Social Security benefits
= Your “combined income””