2000-08-12 / Letters

Tax On Social Security

Dear Editor;

The article "Senior To Get Tax Break", The Wave, August 5, informs us that our Congressman, Anthony D. Weiner, "Recently voted to cut the taxes on senior’s Social Security benefits." I personally like a tax cut, any tax, therefore our Congressman, even though he was only one of the 265 to vote for it, gets my "well done". Glad to hear that he is also co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the tax on Social Security benefits entirely. (Too bad he voted against the elimination of the "marriage penalty", the most unfair and hated tax in our tax system.) The subject article contains two misrepresentations that I humbly like to expose.

First: "Single senior with an annual income of more than $25,000 and married seniors making more than $32,000 will see a difference in their Social Security benefits as a result of this legislation (sic). Wrong -- The reduction of the taxes on senior’s Social Security benefits from 85 percent to 50 percent will not increase the Social Security benefits, for single senior with an income of more than $25,000 or married seniors with an income of more than $32,000, as the article erroneously implies, but might decrease their taxes, if any, at tax time. I said "if any" for the reason that, depending on the case, the reduction from 85 percent to 50 percent might even have no effect at all (in case when there is not taxes due)

Second: "Seniors earning less than this amount were not effected by the1993 tax increase, and their Social Security benefits remain tax-free" (sic). Wrong again! Single senior earning less than $25,000 or married seniors with less than $32,000 might have part of the Social Security benefits taxable, if the income plus 50 percent of the Social Security benefits will add up to more than $25,000 for single or more than $32,000 for a couple. It is simple arithmetic. If a single senior has an earning income of $24,000 and a Social Security benefit of $12,000, by the IRS’ law, he/she will have $2,500 of Social Security benefit taxable (24,000 + 6,000 = 30,000 – 25,000 = 5,000: 2 = $2,500)

In any case, I like to repeat myself. The reduction of the taxes on senior’s Social Security benefits from 85 percent to 50 percent will not increase the Social Security benefits, as the article implies, but it might reduce the taxes, if any, due to uncle Sam at "national pastime" (income tax time, that is, my friends.) Sorry if I have killed any of the above expectations. Check it yourself. Do not assume I am right (you know what happens when you assume). Do not read my lips. You know what happens when you read someone’s lips. Have a nice day at the beach. With God’s grace we will have one… this year.

ANGELO GUARINO


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