A trio of Republican representatives are leading an effort to end what they call "double-taxing" of Social Security benefits.
Pedestrians walk past the Social Security Administration office in downtown Los Angeles, Oct. 1, 2013. (AFP/Getty Images)
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) introduced HR 3894, the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act, to do away with income taxes on Social Security benefits. Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) supported the bill as original co-sponsors.
“Seniors have already paid tax on their Social Security contributions, so taxing Social Security is double-taxing by the federal government,” Massie said.
DeSantis echoed Massie's sentiments in their joint statement: "[The bill] blows the whistle on the federal government for double-taxing the Social Security benefits of senior citizens. Individuals already pay taxes to support Social Security, so there is no reason why these earned benefits should be taxed on the back end."
The GOP representatives argue the purpose of Social Security is "to provide people with financial support during retirement, not to be another source of tax revenue for the federal government."
If the bill passes, Social Security benefits would neither be taxable nor reportable on individual tax returns, thus restoring the integrity of the program.
But Massie told TheBlaze in an email that he thinks the real challenge will be building enough support for the bill to bring it to a vote on the House floor.
"I suspect if I could get a vote on it, it would pass both chambers easily," he said.
The freshman Kentucky representative said his inspiration for the bill was growing inflation.
"I saw the purchasing power of senior citizens on fixed incomes being eroded by inflationary monetary policy. I looked into the Social Security program and realized that benefits weren't always taxed in the past, and realized that they shouldn't be taxed now ... [but] the Social Security trust fund is a tempting target for politicians looking for new sources of money to spend," Massie said.
The Internal Revenue Service defines Social Security benefits as monthly retirement, survivor and disability benefits. They do not include supplemental security income (SSI) payments. IRS document 915, which explains the taxation on Social Security benefits, states:
If the only income you received during 2013 was your social security... your benefits generally are not taxable and you probably do not have to file a return. If you have income in addition to your benefits, you may have to file a return even if none of your benefits are taxable. If part of your benefits are taxable, how much is taxable depends on the total amount of your benefits and other income. Generally, the higher that total amount, the greater the taxable part of your benefits.
Massie, known for his stance supporting industrial hemp farming and for leading the charge in the House against government use of drones against American citizens, hopes the Senior Citizens Tax Elimination Act will be considered on the floor sooner rather than later. Massie's staff confirmed other recent attempts at deleting the Social Security contribution tax have been referred to the subcommittee level, but no specific timeline has been set to take HR 3894 to the floor.
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