The Railroad Retirement Board reports it has adjusted benefits — effective with February benefits checks — for more than 140,000 beneficiaries to reflect new federal income tax withholding rates.

The new rates comply with provisions of the congressionally passed Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.

The new rates apply to withholding from the non-Social Security equivalent portion of Tier I, Tier II, vested dual benefits, and supplemental annuity payments, and will remain in use for the remainder of 2011.

The Railroad Retirement Board says that in the absence of a request not to withhold federal income tax or to withhold the tax at specific amounts, the board will withhold taxes only if the combined portions of the non-Social Security equivalent portion of Tier I, Tier II, vested dual benefit, and supplemental annuity payments are equal to or greater than an annual threshold amount.

In that case, the RRB withholds taxes as if the annuitant were married and claiming three allowances.

The annual threshold amount for 2011 is $1,587.99. The threshold amount for 2010 was $2,063.51.

Annuitants can use form RRB W-4P (Withholding Certificate for Railroad Retirement Payments) to request:

  • No federal taxes be withheld from their Railroad Retirement payments
  • Federal taxes be withheld based on the marital status and the number of allowances they wish to claim
  • An additional amount be withheld from Railroad Retirement payments

Form RRB W-4P may be downloaded at by clicking on “Benefit Forms and Publications,” and then clicking on “Income Tax.”

Annuitants who have questions regarding their tax liability should contact the nearest office of the IRS or visit