Tax on Social Security to End

Posted on 05/31/24 by The AARP Bulletin

West Virginia will phase out its state income tax on Social Security benefits over the next three years under a new law passed in March.

State taxes payable next year on Social Security income earned in 2024 will be reduced by 35 percent. The cut deepens to 65 percent on 2025 Social Security income, and state residents will pay no taxes on income earned in 2026.

“Social Security was not meant to fund state government,” says Angela Vance, AARP West Virginia’s associate state director of advocacy. AARP pushed for the bill’s passage.

A 2019 law cut taxes, but only for single tax filers with income of $50,000 or less and joint filers with incomes of $100,000 or less. The new law applies to all Social Security recipients, regardless of income. It will affect an estimated 50,000 West Virginians who have incomes above the 2019 thresholds, says Tom Hunter, AARP West Virginia’s associate state director of communications.

As of press time, West Virginia was 1 of 10 states to tax Social Security income. A portion of Social Security benefits may be subject to federal income tax depending on a person’s overall income.

In January, Gov. Jim Justice (R) proposed eliminating the tax immediately. The House of Delegates chose to phase out the tax, but the measure was jeopardized when state senators expressed concern that even a gradual elimination would ultimately open a $37 million hole in the state budget, Vance says.

AARP and other advocates worked to overcome those concerns before the legislative session ended in March. Hunter says West Virginia is trying to position itself as “a retirement destination” and this change will help make the state more appealing.

—Mary Dieter

This story is provided by AARP West Virginia. Visit the AARP West Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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