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Federal Tax Brackets 2010

Published 10/7/09 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Federal Tax Brackets 2010

Death and taxes. You can try to fight them both tooth and nail, but at the end of it all, it's a losing proposition. Especially when it comes to taxes, the government is going to want its fair share cut of your salary and business profits one way or another, whether you like it or not. Rather than engage in tax evasion and possibly live the remaining years of your life on the run as a tax fugitive from the long arm of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you might as well confront the issue of taxes head on. All we can do is try our best to understand how income taxes work and take reasonable steps to minimize their effects on our financial lives as much as possible.

One of the most introductory ways to plan for the effects of income taxes is to recognize how the various marginal rates are applied to the corresponding tax brackets. Because the United States does not yet currently engage in a flat tax system, our taxable incomes are broken down into different taxation ranges with specific taxation percentages assessed depending on where they fall along the tax bracket spectrum. Although our 2010 tax returns won't be filed until April 15, 2011, for planning purposes, it's always good to find out the new changes to the tax code as early as possible. Let's examine some of the upcoming tax rate changes that are being projected for 2010 and compare them to the previous year's 2009 tax brackets.

Projections Of New IRS Tax Rates Have Historically Been Extremely Accurate

Year after year, even before the official IRS income tax brackets are released, a select number of tax experts have gotten together and crunched a determinative number of officially released statistics by governmental agencies - to project and extrapolate the upcoming year's tax brackets. Year after year, the tax rate predictions released by these groups have yielded results in advance with near 100% accuracy. Such an income tax bracket projection ahead of time is possible because many of the major tax code numbers are pegged to officially released inflation statistics - including the standard deduction, the personal exemption, the actual income ranges of the tax brackets, and contributions limits for the investment retirement accounts (both the Traditional and Roth IRA account).

One of these tax prognosticating groups is the Tax Foundation, a Washington D.C. think tank which collects data and publishes research studies on federal and state tax policies. The other notable group operates under the auspices of the Wall Street Journal and is comprised of a merry band of private tax professionals and economists - namely William E. Massey, a senior tax analyst from the Tax and Accounting arm of Thomson Reuters; George Jones, a senior federal tax analyst from CCH; and James C. Young, an accounting professor from Northern Illinois University. For numerous years now, both the Tax Foundation and the Wall Street Journal group have consistently released to the public very accurate, albeit unofficial, early bird peaks at the following year's projected income tax brackets based on available financial data - well in advance of the official IRS releases. If you're eager to get a head start on tax year 2010, read on.

IRS Tax Rate Schedule Updates For Tax Year 2010

This year, citing a very sluggish economy and extraordinarily low inflation rates for 2009 to which upcoming 2010 tax rates shall be pegged to, the Tax Foundation and associated experts are predicting very little year to year change for the 2010 federal tax brackets. If there's anything good that came out of this global economic recession that has been plaguing us for the entirety of 2009 - it's that the combination of low gas prices, depressed consumer spending, and high jobless numbers with so many people filing for unemployment - have enabled inflation rates to stay quite low during the span of 2009 - at a mere 0.19%. Just compare that to the incredibly high inflation rate of 4.26% during the previous year of 2008 when gas prices were skyrocketing, and it's clear the recent sudden and precipitous drop in inflation has been extremely unprecedented.

As a result of low inflation, for the most part the 2010 tax bracket ranges will likely stay relatively unchanged. As noted by the tax pundits, for the very first time since the IRS started to index the official federal income tax rates to inflation during the mid 1980's, taxpayers will get virtually no significant benefit from inflation in 2010. As such - year 2010 tax brackets, standard deductions, personal exemptions, and even retirement account contribution limits will see very little (if any) alterations from prior year numbers.

I will update the table below to reflect the official IRS tax rates for 2010 if decidedly different numbers are ultimately released by the IRS. However, with tax bracket projections by the experts having enjoyed a near perfect accuracy rate for quite a few years now, I don't have any reason to doubt that the displayed figures below will ultimately wind up as official.

Federal Income Tax Brackets For 2010 - Based On Taxable Income Ranges

Tax Rate
Married Couples Filing Jointly
Most Single Filers
10% Not over $16,750 Not over $8,375
15% $16,750 – $68,000 $8,375 – $34,000
25% $68,000 – $137,300 $34,000 – $82,400
28% $137,300 – $209,250 $82,400 – $171,850
33% $209,250 – $373,650 $171,850 – $373,650
35% Over $373,650 Over $373,650

Beyond some slight numerical shuffling of the taxable income ranges, there will not be too many significant tax changes from 2009 into 2010. Here is a breakdown of the projected changes (if any) for 2010 as they compare to the prior year:

  • Personal Exemption: No change. For the very first time, the standard exemption for 2010 will not be going up and will stay unchanged at $3,650, the same as it was in 2009.
  • Standard Deduction: No change, except for Head Of Household filers. The standard deduction for married couples filing jointly will remain unchanged at $11,400. For those filing as single, the standard deduction will remain at $5,700 as well. However, Head of Household filers will see a slight increase by $50 - from $8,350 (year 2009) to $8,400 (year 2010).
  • Overall Tax Bracket Thresholds: Will increase across the board for all tax filing statuses, albeit at a significantly lower amount compared to past tax year increases.
  • Annual Gift Tax Exclusion Amount: No change. For tax year 2010, the current gift tax exclusion limit of $13,000 will stay the same. Often overlooked by most taxpayers, the gift tax stipulates that gift givers must pay a special tax on gift amounts that exceed a certain amount per year.
  • Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits: No change. Despite the fact that IRA and Roth IRA contribution limits did not rise in 2009 in response to strong inflationary pressures in 2009, there will still be no corresponding change in the maximum contribution limits to individual retirement accounts for 2010. The standard IRA contribution limit for 2010 will remain unchanged at $5,000. The catch up contribution limit for those 50 or older will remain at $6,000 as well.

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436 Responses to “Federal Tax Brackets 2010 | Income Tax Brackets 2010 | Money Blue Book” 

  1. devoted mom 2010 says:

    sorry, lost our jobs.

  2. devoted mom 2010 says:

    I would just like to add that there is nothing wrong with being a brick layer, cashier, waitress, cook, garbage man.. etc.... it is honest, humble, and honorable work that 75% of the mid to upper class consider to be beneath them... NOTE... you poor, poor, rich people should thank your maid or one of these other people once and a while because without people like us.... GOD FORBID...you would have to scrub your own crap off the toilet, or cook your own food, or do your own dishes... just imagine... no person or machine to do your dishes for you.... you might ruin that nice manicure of yours....LOL.......................SPOILED.... stop whining!!!! We all are going through our own personal "hells"... I don't blame any particular person (ahhumm.. George W.) or class of people for my situation.. they say God never puts more on your plate than you can handle, we all go through our trials and tribulations, so on and so forth, (i could keep going with the clich��s), point being that here in the U.S. we want to pretend that we are better than any other government system and that we don't live in a caste system (for those of you who don't know what a caste system is here is the definition: a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or race) BUT WE DO.... DEMOCRACY - SHAMOCRACY... MAKE A MOCKERY OUT OF ME....LOL... I just try to keep in mind that as bad as I have it, there are a lot of people out there who have it a lot worse. My lesson in all this is that even though I have next to nothing to give, I give whatever I can to someone worse off than me, now-a-days. It is funny how your whole perspective on the world can be altered in mere moments, days, or weeks. For those of you who are up there who loathe those who "live off the state", not everyone is a lazy ass, there are a lot of people out there like my family right now, who got hit hard and are working minimum wage jobs just to bring in something. We aren't just sitting on our butts collecting a paycheck. That's not how most of us are. Two years ago, I was a chef and my husband was a well respected land surveyor (working on major projects for Disney World, etc.), today we are "lowly" cashiers at a convenience store. Please, don't complain, or blame. Accept and adjust, who are you or I for that matter to judge?

  3. devoted mom 2010 says:

    I would like to see "Chillimouse" support a family of 4 on $14,658.... I did it... if you can do it and still live the "lifestyle" you love, THEN AND ONLY THEN can you tell me about "EDUCATING THE POOR". I happen to be a well educated person, with good money mangement skills, who also had a good retirement fund that I started when I was 17 yrs old. Let me let you in on a little something, i would bet 10 grand on that a poor person could stretch $100 a lot further than you (Chillimouse) could! I direct this to you because only a person raised a certain way with a certain mindset about work and money would EVER make a comment like that. I bet you the "uneducated" poor person wins... and so would I... LOL... your parents may have paid for your fancy college degree but they must have paid for your grades too, and if your parents are footing the bill to put your pansy ass through 4-7 years of college, you haven't even begun to be enlightened nearly as much as the guy who rents me my movies at Blockbuster.

  4. Mie says:

    I don't get you americans. You don't want to help each other, allways complaining about taxes... i pay 46% of my income at the moment - and I'm a student.! I am glad that i can get help if i will have problems in the future and I can have my education. And most important help those who need it.
    But then again, this is Denmark, the happiest country in the world, of course we want to help each other... hopefully you'll learn that in the future, so the poor does not get poorer...

  5. Taxed to death says:

    So far this year I have made $34,728.11 in gross pay. Out of that I paid $5,782.48 in total taxes. How is that fair? Why should lower incomes be taxed so much.

  6. KevinAZ says:

    Lynn, who claims to be in "corporate finance", says "Did you know GE, Exxon, Haliburton, just to name a few, aren't headquarted in the US anymore and do not pay one red cent in US income tax?".

    Actually Exxon is headquartered in Irving, Texas. And according to an abcnews.com article, "ExxonMobil paid more income taxes than any other U.S. company last year, some $15 billion, or 47% of pretax earnings. Exxon's peers Chevron and ConocoPhillips likewise paid out more than half their earnings in income taxes".

    It's hard to imagine that someone in "corporate finance" could make such a wild and glaringly WRONG assertion.

  7. TimT says:

    @devoted mom:
    I'm sorry you're in the position you're in. Yes, it could happen to anyone. But I think you really need to think about your wealth envy. Almost every other sentence you wrote is just dripping with hatred of people with more money than yourself. Why does someone having more money than you somehow make your plight worse? And not everyone who gets taxed to death "has someone else clean the crap out of their toilets" or "get manicures". Actually, the person who *does* pay for those services is providing a job for the person doing the job.

    And as for you paying more taxes now than when you both worked, I'd like you to explain how that's possible.

    Charity exists (or did) to help people in your plight. It's be co-opted by the government which has made a mess of it (you yourself spoke of the red tape to get your child on SSI).

    Oh, and W. didn't have much to do with the mess. Look back at the government interference in mortgage lending and interest rates that built a bubble in real estate. That turned a minor recession into a crash. And your spendaholic democrats are turning the crash into a total disaster. (Not that I hold out hope that the republicans will do much better.)

  8. TimT says:


    You say you're a student so I hate to question your knowledge since you're drawing on your vast experience in life.

    I'm glad you're happy in your socialist utopia. Just please stay there and be happy... don't bring your political and economic views to the U.S.

    You say we in the U.S. don't like to help each other. On the contrary, we are one of the most charitable people on the planet. How much of our blood has been spilled on YOUR continent to keep it from being crushed in dictatorships? Twice? Three times if you count the fact that the Soviets don't own you now?

    No, you, like most leftists, confuse charity with government. You don't mind that government sticks a gun to one person's head and says "give me your money" just to turn around and dole it out to someone else. The reason you don't mind is because you're not the one staring at the gun. You say you're a student? Who is paying for the bulk of your education? I'll wager much of Denmark's schools are funded by the government (and thus, by stolen money). So OF COURSE you think that's just great.

    So keep wallowing in your socialism, where there is no incentive to excel. You'll always get a helping hand if you fall.

  9. Josh7891 says:

    This is really a funny debate to me. I love both sides of the argument. Some say the rich pay to much in taxes and some say they don't pay enough. The fact of the matter is that the tax system is broken. There are far to many loop holes. The rich get out of paying taxes and so do the poor. For those of you who say everyone has the ability to make it on their own you really need to stop fooling yourselves. For example, local taxes support the schools im most areas. Do you think that poorer area's have the same tax base as rich ones? They don't which means less opportunity for the poor to make it. Im not saying that just because somebody is poor that they need to be a criminal but come on now. As far as welfare, it's not even close, the corporate welfare that is givin out far exceeds the amount of welfare givin to the poor. Our country has severe financial problems and every one of us needs to help out.

  10. Josh7891 says:

    One more thing for you rich to think about. You really need to be careful about hoarding all of the wealth. Just remember the same thing happened to Rome years ago and look what happened to them.

  11. Josh7891 says:

    Also, everyone needs to remember that there is only so much money in America. Not everyone can make $250k a year. We can't all have jobs in finance or become doctors. This country needs all types of workers to survive. Just remember that when your garbage man comes and picks up the trash. Without him it would be a very stinky place. CEO's take to large of a part of the total thats why the poor are struggling.

  12. Greek Steve says:

    I am proud to be an American and of Greek immigrant decent and also take pride in the fact that starting with my parents, myself, siblings, and now my children, 3 generations, are as law abiding citizens who pay their taxes. I have been on both spectrum's of poor and wealthy but through my own hard work and education made my way to financial success from near poverty. In my 20's feeding a wife and 2 children working 3 jobs and making 35k a year was tough but I paid my taxes like all of you, albeit at a lower tax rate.

    My new wife and I now make over 400k a year and enjoy a much better living in our late 40's. I do feel that it is unfair for us to pay taxes at a much higher tax bracket and it does make me bitter as it feels that I am being punished for all the time and hard work that I applied to get here. However at the end of the day I realize how lucky I have been to have had the opportunity to go from 50k to 400k in 20+ years. I have had many freedoms and opportunities as an American that many people in war torn and destitute countries including my own family members in Albania have never enjoyed.

    I try to always remember that in spite of all it's unfairness, sham and drudgery, America is STILL the best country in the world and I will always be proud to be an American. God Bless America I say!

  13. Connie S. says:

    I do not know how to survive anymore. I am a single mother, an RN, that makes an income under the 25% tax bracket. Each payday I am crunching my wallet to make it. I don't even buy clothes for my self nor buy clothes for my son. We pay our $1500.00 monthly rent, cable, internet and phone bill. That's all I pay each month. I'm barely making it through. When I saw the tax bracket of 25%, I am so disappointed. We are like machines being run down.

    I am so against the law that provides Social Security Pension to those immigrants who did not contribute to taxes. They come to US at the age of 60, they become US citizen, then at the age of 65, they start rakin' in about $740.00 month. You wonder why the Government is broke! Then we take care of those who cross the boarders. They knew they have heart problems, they knew they needed a heart catetherization, or a bypass surgery, and we admit them, provide everything they need, then send then back across the boarder! What is wrong with this country.......too nice!!!!!! Stop it, you are hurting the tax payers!!!!!!

  14. TimT says:


    You have zero understanding of economics. Like many, you think the amount of wealth is fixed. You say, "there is only so much money in America." There is neither a fixed amount of wealth or a fixed amount of money in America. Let me educate you.

    First, as for wealth, if you work for a company, you trade your time to somehow create something of value for the company. The company is paying you for your time, but will take the product of your labor and the labor of your fellow employees and sell it for more than the sum of what it paid for it. That's the "profit" the company makes. So if you take the total output of everyone working, that's how much the wealth of the country is increasing. It's not always 1-to-1, but you hopefully get the idea. Also, things created don't last forever. Cars and houses, for example, have a finite lifetime. When those wear out, that subtracts from the wealth. But overall, wealth increases.

    Now, as for money itself, that obviously increases (how many trillions has the Fed injected out of nowhere over the last couple of years?). The fact that wealth increase is one reason they supposedly went off the gold standard and to fiat currency. Fiat currency can be slowly inflated to keep pace (and represent) the increase in wealth. The amount of gold is relatively fixed, so to represent an ever growing wealth, the gold backed currency would actually have to deflate, which can be very damaging to an economy. (While I understand this theory, it doesn't make me really like fiat currencies... especially when a nation has the ability to monetize its debt... but that's a whole other discussion.)

    Now, for your most ludicrous assertion that the "[rich] need to be careful about hoarding all of the wealth." What do you think the rich do with their money? Stuff it under their mattress? Build a giant vault under their mansions so they can sneak down at night and count it all while laughing maniacally? No, I'd bet 99% of the wealth of rich is invested in various companies which employ the rest of us. And God bless 'em for it, because I like having a job while *I* try to get rich so *I* can invest just like them!

    I will agree with one thing you said, though. Our tax code is horribly broken. Ever since the progressives managed to foist the 16th amendment on us and give us one of Marx's dreams, a progressive income tax, wealth production and achievement have been punished by our tax code. I say get rid of all of it and the power it gives the corrupt politicians and replace it with the Fair Tax.

  15. GrannyBG says:

    2009 saw Highest ever profits for our major corporations (most of which are actually global in scope these days) and which are now running most of our government and own one half of our legislators...not to mention more than 90% of our media where most of us still get our information/propaganda prior to voting. (Corporatocracy has bought out most of Democracy).

    CASE in POINT: Exxon was the highest earner in 2009 of all the high earners. And voila! Exxon paying ZERO ($0) dollars in tax. Boy don't you wish we could do that. And in addition the US Government gave poor little EXXon extra money just to keep them doing what they are doing. (which sure isn't creating jobs in America)

    In summation: AMerica has been raped by the corporations. If you voted for corporate shills at the behest of their 4 Billion propaganda in 2010 you are helping to kill our country. If you think gutting the government (lower taxes for the wealthiest) is beneficial for AMerica you have bought into that propaganda. What that does is enfeeble our government and increases power of the corporations. We need to go back to: regulation of industries, Sherman anti trust act, policies to penalize those who offshore...and someway to make these giant global corporations ...pay income tax to their home nation. Our jobs went away thanks to these global corporations who profitted greatly...but did not reinvest in America.

    Build American, buy American, help strenghten our foundations. Our foundations are the people and the infrastructure ...not corporations. Trickle down has been demonstrated to be the biggest hoax ever.

  16. cfj says:

    OK TAXES do suck, so do alot of things in this split country. i believe the [25% tax bracket should be lowered to 15%] [The 28% down to 20% ] [The 15% to 10%]
    [and the 33% and 35% down to 25%
    is way to much and the with the super rich population growing fast there should be
    whatever tax % it would take to compensate the other tax bracket % drop.
    We could call it the "WHAT-EVER" TAX.. which would be added to the 25% tax they would already be paying as to my supposed changes above.
    the What-ever tax would be specially for super high income levels
    and we could break that down like the regular peoples bracket is
    say 1 million to 2 million the smaller %
    2 million to 4 million
    4m to 10 m
    10 million plus would pay the largest %
    so the super high income people would take up the slack for this outrageous
    governmental spending freaks.
    i guess this is the best way
    i know you people who are making those millions earned it or worked ur ass off for it
    but tough luck were all in this country together u might as well pay up. it will come back to u.

  17. cfj says:

    i agree buy made in USA
    i wish all products made in china or outside the USA should be required to be in a bright red box with a foriegn logo on it so everybody would know your buying and/or selling foriegn mfg crap. and there should be some focus on the cash (that some workers in the USA are earning) is being wired out of our country at an alarming rate. western union or money gram. every payday there are huge lines of people sending American $$$ to there family in the foriegn country they have family in

  18. Michael says:

    I agree with Miss Swan... a 'Fair Tax' is needed. And by fair, you mean the same for everyone right? Just like God does with tithing His people. Whatever the number... 15%, 20%... should be the same for everyone. That is what 'fair' means.

  19. Michael says:

    Oh, and by the way... our wonderful government gives billion dollar tax cuts to companies like Exxon and GE... and that includes Obama and the rest of them. If we treated the big guys like everyone else, and cut out all the ridiculous entitlement and special interest programs, we could implement a 'fair' tax system, cut the national debt, and give everyone a chance to flourish. After all, this is America. Let's hold on to that dream!

  20. Nick G. D. says:

    * I pay low thou$. in income taxes/3 yrs.; Buffett pays over $6+M/yr.; but they consider that 17% range!!! Then it as if his income were $68k/yr.; not $69+M/yr. $6M is alot of money ; but so is $69+M, compared to $68+k/yr. GA. is not even paying the $30k to $41+k/yr. avg. anymore ; many Americans are working for the $7+/hr. range, which is just above poverty level here in the US. What is that % of US workers who earn that min. wage range?

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