With Social Security benefit payments increasing nearly 9% this year, you may need to rethink your retirement tax planning.
If you started working part-time to offset some of the recent price inflation, this increase in your Social Security payments might make some or more of it subject to federal income taxes. If you file as an individual and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, up to half of your benefit may be subject to income taxes. Social Security defines combined income as your adjusted gross income, plus nontaxable interest, plus one-half of your Social Security benefit.
CONSIDER A REDUCTION
With the possibility of being in a higher tax bracket this year, due to increased Social Security benefits, consider cutting back on withdrawals from your qualified retirement plans. If you can avoid taking more than your required minimum distribution (RMD) in 2023, you might be able to limit your tax liability.
If you need more than your RMD, consider pulling funds from a taxable brokerage account where you’ll pay the lower long-term capital gains rates if you held investments for more than a year.
Also consider qualified withdrawals from a Roth IRA, a Roth 401(k), or a health savings account (HSA), which would not be subject to federal income tax and wouldn’t have an impact on how your Social Security benefit is taxed.
This year’s cost of living adjustment can help you keep up with higher prices. And in the short run, managing your withdrawals may help you smooth out the tax bumps during a period of high inflation.
Figuring out withdrawals from retirement and brokerage accounts can be complicated, so it may help to work with an advisor. But even if you do it yourself, try to withdraw from your Roth and HSA accounts last, allowing those assets to grow tax-free longer. Withdrawals from all three types of accounts in the same year can help manage combined taxable income.