The tax season is at hand, and millions of taxpayers are busy gathering together all the forms and documents needed to file federal, state and local tax returns. Because some Social Security beneficiaries have to pay taxes on their benefits, a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) is one of those important tax documents.

The SSA-1099s for tax year 2005 all were automatically mailed to beneficiaries by Jan. 31. If you or a Social Security beneficiary whom you know has not yet received your Form SSA-1099, you can request a replacement on the Social Security Web site at www.socialsecurity.gov.

The Form SSA-1099 shows the total amount of benefits received in the previous year and is used to complete a federal income tax return and to find out if any benefits are subject to tax. Basically, the federal tax laws about Social Security benefits state that:

Up to 50 percent of Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax for individuals with a combined income between $25,000 and $34,000, or for couples with a combined income between $32,000 and $44,000; and up to 85 percent of Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax for individuals with a combined income above $34,000, or for couples with a combined income above $44,000. (Note: “Combined income” means adjusted gross income, plus nontaxable interest, plus one-half of Social Security benefits.)

Only about 28 percent of current Social Security beneficiaries have incomes that exceed the thresholds, requiring them to pay taxes on a portion of their Social Security benefits.

For more information on taxation of Social Security benefits, call the IRS toll-free telephone number, 1-800-829-3676 and ask for Publication 554, Older Americans’ Tax Guide.

The publication also is available from the IRS Web site at www.irs.ustreas.gov.