How to Pay North Carolina State Tax on Social Security

How to Pay North Carolina State Tax on Social Security
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If you collected Social Security income while living in North Carolina this year, you may be wondering how to pay taxes on Social Security. The answer is that you may not have to pay taxes on your Social Security income. That's because Social Security and railroad retirement benefits are not taxed in North Carolina.

It's simply one of the perks of living in one of the more retirement-friendly states. North Carolina is one of 38 states without a tax on Social Security income as of 2020. However, there could still be a tax bill to cover if you drew income from other sources while also collecting Social Security payments in North Carolina.

Social Security Income in North Carolina

You are generally entitled to take the deduction for your Social Security or railroad retirement benefits if you were taxed on this income on your federal return. At this point, the income was added to your tally for your federal adjusted gross income. Taking the Social Security deduction on your North Carolina state income taxes will likely increase your refund significantly.

When figuring out your tax situation for the year, start by getting a tally of your total Social Security retirement income for the year. That amount can be subtracted from your taxable income on your North Carolina income tax return. In fact, Social Security income is one of the deductible items that can be selected when you fill out North Carolina income tax Form D-400. Keep in mind that you won't be able to deduct your Social Security benefits on your North Carolina income tax return if they're not included in your current federal taxable income.

What Is Taxable for Retirees in North Carolina

While Social Security income is exempt from taxation in North Carolina, the state does not exempt pension incomes. That means that any pension you receive from an employer will be fully taxed. The same goes for withdrawals from retirement accounts.

As of 2020, only ​14 statesdon't tax pensions. Those states are Alaska, Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, South Dakota, Illinois, Wyoming, Texas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. Most of those states also don't tax IRA or 401(k) distributions. Additionally, a number of states around the country offer partial tax breaks for retiree benefits by only taxing up to a certain threshold.

Read More:What Is a Pension Plan?

How to Pay North Carolina State Tax on Social Security

While Social Security and railroad benefits income are fully exempt from taxes in North Carolina, that doesn't mean that you won't have to pay taxes on your retirement benefits from other sources. All income collected from pensions, 401(k) accounts, IRAs or other types of retirement accounts are all taxed at North Carolina's standard income tax rate of ​5.25 percent​.

Unfortunately, North Carolina doesn't provide tax exemptions for pensions and retirements accounts the way that some of its neighboring states do. If you're wondering how to potentially reduce the tax burden of taking distributions from retirement accounts, it can be smart to work with a financial planner to possibly switch your retirement savings to specific types of accounts that are more resilient against North Carolina's state taxes.