April #122 : Legal Eye-April 2006 - by Catherine Hanssens

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Table of Contents

Anonymous No More

Editor's Letter-April 2006

Dead Certain?

Tough Breaks

Hepatitis C: New Help Is on the Way

Blowing Smokes

Doctor's Diary-April 2006

Tasty Freeze

Snack Pack

Double Duty

POZ Personals of the Month-April 2006

Toon Darn Hot

Legal Eye-April 2006

Office Politics

Worldwide Web

Up Close and Impersonal

Border Patrol

A Virus in Verse

Oral Fixation

Germ Warfare

Sleeping With the Enemy

The Plot Thickens

Editor's Letter-April 2006

Mailbox-April 2006

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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April 2006

Legal Eye-April 2006

by Catherine Hanssens

Tax Time

I was on disability all last year and have some unpaid medical bills. Do I have to pay taxes on my benefits, and can I deduct those bills?    

Dear Taxed,
Well, that depends on your benefits. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is never taxed. From 50% to 85% of Supplemental Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be taxed if you also had income from another taxable source and if half your social security benefits plus all your other income is more than $25,000 for singles and $32,000 for married folks. The percent and tax rate depend on income. Fill out the worksheet the IRS sends with the 1040 form or in IRS publication 915 to figure out how much you owe. Because unemployment benefits are taxed, state disability benefits can be taxed if you switch from unemployment to disability without asking the unemployment office to remove you from their list of beneficiaries.

Private disability is taxed as earned income when your employer pays the premiums, but not if you do. As for medical bills, anyone can deduct costs over 7.5% of their gross income (include transportation costs for medical care and health insurance payments).

State benefits vary, and the tax code is full of complexities, so check if your local AIDS organization or local bar association has a free program offering tax advice. Search the American Bar Association’s AIDS directory, www.abanet.org. Many happy returns.

*Catherine Hanssens, JD, founded The Center for HIV Law and Policy. Her column offers general guidance and should not substitute for a lawyer's counsel.

Send all legal queries to law@poz.com.

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