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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. Sue R says:

    I love how the word "Socialist" is tossed around so freely on this board, it's amazing, I even wonder if any of you people using the word know the true meaning of it...doubtful.

    Look back in history, what's happening here is nothing like the real "socialism" that occurred, you people need to find a new word to overuse, instead of one which is used over and over without knowledge of it's background.

    For those rich, you have money to pay your taxes, but those who have much less have to scrape and scrimp for food money, having you pay more isn't going to leave you homeless or without food or clothing; on the other hand, taking more from those who don't have money does. See the difference here, its a huge one. Open your eyes and put yourself in the place of those who don't have instead of those who have.

    I get so tired of the whining, read your history learn about what a socialist environment is instead of being a sheep following the herd.

  2. Tori says:

    That's is because buisness owners are greedy not because of tax rates. God forbid you have to pay taxes so you can't afford another fancy car or other things that you don't need. Not everyone can be a doctor, a buisness owner or have the high paying jobs like you. Just because someone works a low paying job doesn't make them lazy or worthless. Look at police officers, teachers and the military. All of these are essential government run, occupations in our society but they barely get paid enough to live on. Then you come in complaining about our hands in your pocket. I don't feel bad for you one bit. I'm a member of the military and I'm currently in my 4th year of college for teaching. You don't WORK any harder than I do! I go to college full time, work part-time and perform my military duties. When I graduate, I might get 40k a year including my teaching and military pay. COME ON NOW, you are seriously complaining about my "lazy, worthless hands" being in your pocket. How do you think you got where you are today? How do you think your dad made it out of poverty? Because of govenment programs such as the military, the police and free education. Without people like me, people like you COULD NOT be where you are today! So next time you decide to complain about taxes, try looking at where we would be without a government to provide for us. If you are fortunate enough to have a high salary you should be willing to give back to the government for allowing you to be where you are not complaining about it. Especially if you worked your way out of poverty because you are the ones who benefit the most from government programs.

  3. Ester says:

    I don't want anything that is not due to me, but I want it to be affordable. Is nothing wrong to expect for health care to be affordable for everyone. When doctors, hospitals, drug companies and insurance companies are regulated to charge reasonable amounts for their services then maybe we will pay less in taxes. We need all people that performe all jobs, the ones that pay low 5 figures and the ones that pay 6 and 7 figures, but the benefits should be for all of us, why is it that we have 40 million people that aren't able to receive health care because they can't afforde it. Those that want our goverment to worry about their tax rates instead of providing health care for our people are wrong, we need our representative to star earning their salaries and do the job that they suppose to instead of just thinking about their lifetime career. Maybe we should start for changing the serving times for our senators and congressmen and limiting the times that they can serve to just 2 or 3 terms and then they should go and work in the job market like we all do. Also we should make it ilegal for them to get a job at any lobbying agency. Let them see what it is to live in the real world.

  4. Captain Obvious says:

    WOW. I can't believe people who say that "rich" or more productive earners should pay more taxes to compensate for those who are less fortunate. FYI our tax money does not go to the less fortunate it goes to the government and all of their employees have great healthcare, retirement, and compensation packages. I prefer to donate directly to the less fortunate and could do so even more so if the government did not tax unfairly and unequally. Many people in this blog have also forgotten basic mathmatical principals, even if taxes were done equally and fairly those who make more would still pay more (contribute more to the pie), that is why taxes were set up as a percentage in the first place. 25% of $50,000 a year is $12,500 in taxes, 25% of $200,000 a year is $50,000 in taxes. I like how we throw out "all men are created equal" when it comes to taxes!

  5. Josh says:

    Oh God this blog has gone down hill��..

    Sue R - Please don't lecture anyone about the proper use of the word Socialist. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need". This sentiment is exactly what your post, and many of your comrades', are explicitly promoting. I don't even have to go far to prove it. The next post below yours. Tori - "God forbid you have to pay taxes so you can't afford another fancy car or other things that you don't need." The United States and Western Europe are most certainly embracing Socialism. Perhaps you are confusing Socialism with Communism. A common mistake. Communism is merely Socialism with an Iron Fist. However, I'd argue that Socialism is far more dangerous and destructive than Communism. At least with Communism, the people recognize the inherent danger almost immediately and fight back to destroy it. Socialism is like the frog in boiling water. It feels warm and toasty at the beginning. It's not until it kills you that you realize your mistake.

    And just to pick on Tori some more. No one is blaming "police officers, teachers and the military" for destroying our economy and the American dream. Although the Policeman's, Teachers and Government Employee Unions are largely responsible for our massive debt and poor education results. But that's for another post. We are blaming the 50 million people on Food Stamps! The millions of people receiving 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The 20 million people in government housing, sometimes generation after generation! Do you really think that 50 million people are so disabled or infirmed that they can't work enough to put food on their tables? They are so completely devoid of skills that the choice is government handouts or starvation? Of course not. The government says they can have free food so they take the free food! Why would you buy your own food when you can get the food (and beer and cigarettes) for free and use your money for real necessities like an Xbox or smartphone? I think I'm being overly generous when I say maybe 25% truly "need" these benefits. They are mentally or physically disabled. (And don't get me started on how many phony disability payments SSDI makes����)

    I think we are arguing that open-ended, never-ending government handouts destroys all sense of accountability, responsibility, and work ethic in this country. Listen, I am relatively well off, live in a nice neighborhood and work for a good company. And I personally know 5 people that are scamming the taxpayers out of benefits they don't need/deserve. Multiply that anecdote by every other taxpayer/sucker out there and you might start to realize the magnitude of the problem.

    But I can already hear your response��.I'm just a greedy, mean SOB that hates poor people.

  6. Lynn says:

    Also to the person who mentioned their state would pay for college if you were in the top 10%. Really? That, by definition, means that 90% would NEVER get the aid even if you were all geniuses.

  7. Lynn says:

    Another example. A young, church-going, honest and ethical woman got married and had 2 babies. Her husband decided that listening to crying babies and having to work harder meant marriage wasn't so fun anymore and he divorced her. Because he is dysfunctional, he doesn't work or make much (in fact now lives with an older woman who is a good earner) so he doesn't pay much child support - a piddly amount. Her mistake was marrying him!

    Her typical week: (She gets housing, food, medical and child care support from the government. Because of this, the government dictates what she must do and what the children need.) So, her typical week: She misses work 1 day because the old car she ownes broke down for the fifth time. She loses time from work another day because she has to take one of the children to state-mandated speech therapy. She almost loses her subsidized apartment because a neighbor had a loud party and someone thought it was her apartment and complained to the state, but finally that gets straightened out (after she stresses for several days that she's going to have to find somewhere to live.) She loses time from work another day because she has to go to state social services for parenting coaching, because she's a single parent. She loses time another day because her other child has to go to the doctor.

    Do you think she's having fun? She only has a car because parents and grandparents have helped her. She only has hand-me-down furniture and gifts from various family members. She has no computer, internet or phone. Her dad provides a cell phone. She too has no airconditioning. She spends her time away from work, laundry, housework, cooking, taking care of the kids, running the many errands, etc. taking the kids to the park so they can play, takes them to streams to discover tad poles, the fields to discover wild flowers, the woods to discover the wonders there. Other than the precious times she takes her kids playing, what wonderful lifestyle is she living? And you think she's a lazy good-for-nothing loser livin off the government. Shame on you.

  8. JW says:

    The period from the end of World War II to the early 1970s was a golden era of American capitalism. This is when GI Bill was introduced. See, there's nothing wrong with free education. We will all benefit from it in the long run. This is also the period when the high earners were taxed as high as 94%. See link http://www.truthandpolitics.org/top-rates.php This grew the economy because it made people who owns business and are doing very well a reason to put their money back on their business to grow it, otherwise they will be hit by the top marginal tax rate. Now, people will say, today's times are different because we are in recession, but look at the chart again and you'll realize that FDR raised the tax rates to 65% from 25% and use that income to create jobs when the private economy won't and provide people safety nets. Consequently, we got out of depression because there was money in the hands of those who need it and therefore would spend it right away...making business stay in their business because there was a demand. There is a pattern here...when you lower the tax rates just like what happened in 1925, there will be a bubble and it will be followed by a recession. Looks like we are not learning from our history! We are still having this debate and we are only talking about 4% increase for the top marginal tax rates. I think people are also confused by the way taxes are calculated...let's say you are like Greenman above who is in the 25% tax bracket he says, so let's just say he's earning $100,000 a year. His tax will be calculated as follows...10% for the first $16,750 of his income + 15% for the $16,751 to $68,000 of his income + 25% for anything above $68,000. So it will be like this ($16,750 x 10%) + ($51,250 x 15%) + ($32,000 x 25%) = $17,362.5. So, it is a progressive tax rate and the more we go up the ladder, the more we pay because we are able and it's our way of paying to the system that allowed us to succeed so other's will have the same opportunity. We will all benefit from that kind of society anyway. The more rich one becomes the more he uses the commons, the roads, the courts, the educational system, the health care. Moreso when one owns a business because one would want to employ educated and healthy workforce.

  9. Norbert says:

    about tax bracets;
    tax brackets are the biggest discrimination against someone hourly labor.
    i went to school for 27years and stil counting...
    i have 250k in student loans stil (i have to pay it til i die or at least a next 30 yrs)
    i work 17-18 hrs/ day 6 days a week approx 4000hrs per year
    i dont use any more or less social / goverment provided services than anyone else.
    as a matter of fact i have not used any in the past 5 years.
    i pay in evry year about 150K fed 50k state 50kbusiness tax (state), (and of course all local & personal property tax , unemployment insurance tax , futa, sales tax ,,, etc etc ) another 35-45k.
    so i pay in about 285k evry year. because the tax brackets, of course.
    thats all comes from my two hand of labor.
    and im not rich. i just work. and i have realized im paying at least 30 times as much than the average taxpayer do. but i realy take home not more than 7 times vs regular taxpayer.
    so how unfair is that? not to mention i have never used any goverment svcs in my life.
    $285,000.00 per year. think how much taxes you be paying in this lifetime.
    i pay about that evry year. thats UNFAIR

  10. Tom says:

    We could just take the Federal budget, divide it by those in the US and issue everyone a bill on a yealy basis. Those who were past 65 or under 18 or under
    an actual disability could be given a reduced bill or waiver. The only ones who would
    complain are those who at present pay less than whatever this amount would be.

    It would cause those who earn less to earn more and pay "their fair share for once" and the government to not waste "our" tax dollars.

  11. TimT says:


    You paint a compelling picture with your description of those who are truly hitting on hard times because of no fault on their own and are not the stereotypical lazy bums. This can certainly be used as an argument for a social safety net for people like this.

    But I submit to you that no matter how truly deserving these people are of help, YOU have no right to use the government as your proxy to put a gun to someone else's head and FORCE them to hand over the fruits of their labor which they have traded parts of their life for, in order to help these people.

    What happened to charity? I think we are a very charitable nation. When the earthquake hit in Haiti, we sent BILLIONS of dollars VOLUNTARILY. The government sent confiscated money, but I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about all the money we gave to the Red Cross and other organizations. How many people sent a text message to a number in order to have $10 added to their phone bill to help out? I did. Did you?

    Charity doesn't play as important of a roll in helping people as it once did in this country because of the Progressive Statist. The Progressive Statist doesn't really give a rip about poor people. They merely want to use it as an excuse for wealth redistribution and the power it gives THEM since THEY are the ones who get to decide how it's distributed. Then people who can't see the gun pointed at their heads say, "well, I suppose we all have to sacrifice for the greater good," and then vote for Democrats because that makes them feel good that they're "making a difference."

    Stop being lazy. If you want to help poor people, stop letting the government do your work (poorly). Get out there and open a soup kitchen. Build some housing. If you can't swing the finances for that yourself, then pound the pavement to solicit donations from private individuals and corporations. But DON'T go running to a politician saying (effectively) "Will you go steal from my neighbor so I can feel good."

  12. Chuck Stewart says:

    The thing that we should be angry about isn't really taxes, or progressive tax rates, or who pays what to the government. We are in this together for the most part, and we should collectively, bond together as "We the People".
    Rich provide, through hard work, and risking the fruit of their labor, a comfortable life for themselves, and paychecks for others too, with no guarntee of a return on their capital.
    People of lesser means work hard, with precious little time left to spend with the family they are so devoted to caring for. Higher education requires a great deal of money and those who have received that education are fortunate, hard working yes, but fortunate all the same.
    It isn't the tax, or who pays the tax, it's how that money is spent, and how much is spent that causes the strife. People were offered "creative financing" by bankers who told them their rates will go up in the future, but.. hey in the future, you will be better off..right? So they bought into sound logic,believed that you couldnt go wrong with real estate, and bought a home.
    Greed at the very top, the financial institutions who recklessly over sold their own "logic". The executives who's greed collapsed the housing market and the American Dream for many along with it. No regulation from our elected officials produced disaster. So what happened next, did the guilty greedy top dogs pay the price of failure? hell No, we did. All those hard earned tax dollars spent to bail out these people. No increase in minimum wage for an entire decade but Congress's automatic pay increase happens every year. Our "leaders" go from communisim, to terrorisim, to keep the military industrial complex oiled up and consuming more resources now than during the cold war. People are arrested and "robbed" by a justice system that provides no justice except "checkbook" justice and we need more and more prisons. We the People need to concentrate on the underlying cause of the taxes we pay and unite as "Americans" because if we dont "hang together" we will surly hang seperately.

  13. Rene says:

    Dear Miss Swan Socialism isn't working anywhere on this planet why do you think it will work in the US? Wake up and smell the coffee. Our government needs to be more responsible with our hard earned money. Both my husband and I have put ourselves through school work long hours and still do without. I don't own a cell phone or the latest electronic gadgets, but we do pay our bills and our taxes. We pay property taxes out the ass and don't have children, pay Federal Taxes, Income Taxes, Sales Taxes and on and on it goes. There are people in this country who take and take and never contribute a nickel. If you are living in this country no matter what your status is you need to pay taxes. A flat tax across the board will resolve that problem; this will make the 40% of non tax payers more aware of what is going on in this country and more responsible.

  14. Richard Diener says:

    To Miss swan especially; How about a flat Federal Income Tax rate for everyone, period. 8% on adjusted gross income would most likely cover it and would do away
    with all the loopholes in our tax code. If you are good/smart enough to earn a higher income you should not be penalized for it by our tax system. If you think that this is too high then what do you think a pending value added tax (VAT) would do.

    I raised 5 children and college educated 4 of them. There were no tax breaks for that and there was no EIC to cover my procreative efforts. I sired what I could afford!!

  15. Richard says:

    Why is it that the biggest jump in the tax brackets fall in the middle range �� from 15% to 25% @ 34k to 82 k a $48K range - with an increase of 10%? I can understand the 5% increase from base �� (poverty) $8K to $34k
    The next range is 82K to 172 K with an increase of only 3%
    The next range is 172K to 374K a range of $200K and an increase of 5%
    And the final range of 'Above' $374K --- a never ending range with only a 2% increase
    Why a diminishing rate for the increasing incomes? And why such a major jump to $82K
    Guess it falls back into that area of those that write the rules and laws exempt themselves from them �� most lawyers and politicians are in that special tax bracket area of $83k to $373K and are receiving some nice gifts for service from that last tax bracket! Shouldn't all the brackets be at 5% increases? Shouldn't there be more brackets between those privileged brackets? What do you think?

  16. Chris says:

    I would check back into the 1950s where the tax rate for the top incomes in the US was 91 percent.

  17. BH says:

    Lolalarvale---- it's simple really. Corporations don't pay taxes. They add the cost of the taxes they "PAY" to the price of whatever they sell. In other words, ALL taxes are ultimately paid by individuals. If they doubled the tax on oil companies would you be surprised when the price of gas went up. YOU probably would be. All companies, regardless of size are in business to make a profit and hopefully grow larger. When you tax the crap out of them they do less of both. Capital gains should be eliminated, as should the income tax (what right does the gummint have to know what anyone makes?), and death tax. Replace everything with a flat sales tax. The more people spend ("rich" people) the more they pay. Truly poor people could get subsistence help by applying. Think how nice it would be to not have to file a tax return. NO MORE IRS!!

  18. Joseph L says:

    frankly that is a cop out for the rich and famous to only have to pay 35% tax. The republicans have shown americans that they dont care you still pay all the taxes why we rich folks dine. Mr. Bohner and McConnell need to resist this or suffer backlash at the next election. Now we have two parites to blame Republicans and the Tea Party. happy taxing someone

  19. SS says:

    Norbert - You use government services every day. The roads that you drive your Mercedes on, the cop that keeps the peons away from you, and the military that risks their lives (for a salary that usually has them in the 10% tax bracket, if that). The FAA and TSA (air travel), the EPA (you do like clean drinking water, don't you?), and even the IRS (if you have to pay that much in taxes, you sure want someone to make sure the other guy pays what he owes).
    If you are paying $150K in federal taxes, you are probably making over $450K in ADJUSTED income. Probably a lot more as the other taxes are deductions from adjusted income. Pretty good from my viewpoint, congratulations. You work hard and are successful. You probably have about $200K/yr in disposible income.
    The little guy may also work 4000 hours a year, but at $10/hr, he is only taking home maybe $32K, trying to feed his rugrats instead of going on welfare. As long as none of the kids get sick, he may have $1-2K per year to save for retirement. He does not need a handout, but don't expect that he can pay the same in taxes that you can.

    Does anyone else see the disconnect when food pantries and Toys-for-tots are begging for donations yet the luxury stores like Tiffanies are showing strong profits?

    I would love to pay less in taxes. I wish both the Democrats and Republicans would quit spending money like it was free. But until the wars are over, taxes should increase, not decrease. Piling on debt that someone else (the next generation) has to pay does not sound like true American values. Deficit spending can be forgiven in a recession, but we were going in the hole during a strong expansion.

    The word Sacrifce is no longer in the nation's vocabulary, except for our soldiers.

    Quit whinning, pay the piper for the last 8 years, and get our politicians to learn responsible spending.

  20. Dale says:

    SS- Your 40K family isn't paying any Fed taxes and is probably eligible for EIC (so they are getting a hand out). You have to be joking about the retirement contribution.

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