Will My Brother's Social Security Be Affected If He Fails To File A Tax Return?

Aug 8 2017 - 8:08am

My brother did not file his Federal taxes this past year, as he figured he was unemployed the entire year and only made some money from side jobs totaling maybe $4-6,000 for the year. He is 61 years old now and has been unemployed for about 5 years now. However, this is the first year he did not file his taxes. I am wondering, as his dutiful younger brother, if this negligence on his part will effect negatively his ability to claim social security starting at 62 next year. Please advise, thanks.


I'm not an expert on IRS rules, but Social Security benefits are based on a person's earnings on which Social Security taxes were paid (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10070.pdf). If your brother worked for wages and received a W-2 form, those earnings would be reported to Social Security and posted to his earnings record regardless of whether or not he files a tax return. However, if he was self-employed or working as an independent contractor, he would only receive Social Security credits for his earnings if he files a tax return and pays self-employment taxes.

Best, Jerry