No more than 85 percent of any taxpayer's Social Security benefits may be taxed. Eighty-five percent is not the tax rate but rather the percentage of benefits subjected to income tax.
Individuals who earn more than $34,000 per year or couples filing jointly who report more than $44,000 in annual income may have up to 85 percent of their benefits taxed. Individuals who earn between $25,000 and $34,000 and couples who report between $32,000 and $44,000 on their income tax returns may have to pay income tax on up to 50 percent of their Social Security Benefits. Individuals and couples earning less than these amounts do not have to pay any tax on their Social Security benefits.