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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. Giras says:

    I'm writing a research paper on flat tax vs. graduated tax, the discussion here has help a lot. Thanks, especially to Josh.

  2. Donna says:

    I agree with Pat about getting rid of the tax system but i think it should be based on spending only. That way everyone pays their fair share because the people with more money would be spending more thus paying more taxes. My husband brings home $300 a week and with my little salary, we make ends meet, which is all we need. Since we don't spend much, a tax on spending only would be great for us. That way we get to keep most of our money instead of the government taking it to give to people who prefer to whine instead of bettering themselves. I get tired of the whiners complaining they don't have enough money. If you don't think you make enough then do something about it. People who have more money than you have it because they did what ever was needed to learn the skill to get the job that paid more. Anyone who sits and whines all day about not having enough money never has the time to found out how to make more.

  3. Impeach Obama says:

    How about we rely on ourselves and not the government? What we need is less government and less taxes. I don't need the government to bail me out. I have worked hard all my life and have protected this county form our enemies for 26 years.

    I don't think anyone here would accuse someone in the military as being rich.

    Take pride in yourself, work hard and educate yourself if you can't afford to go to a formal school. You don't need the government for handouts.

  4. UR A Stupid TeaBagger says:

    If someone else says impeach Obama I am going to freaking scream. Impeach him why? Somebody should have impeached George Dubyah (W) Bush! Starting 2 wars built on lies and instilling an environment of fear in this country!
    I will say the only thing that I have a problem with Obama about is the fact that he is too damned nice. Bush didn't care who didn't like what, he did what he wanted and had the power to do with his fellow Publicans backing him. Obama is acting like a pussy! I am sick of people saying he's taking freedoms away! Bush took your freaking privacy away. The Privacy Act means that you have none anymore. The government is at liberty to record your telephone conversations, track your spending, email, internet usage and all without the permission of you or a judge and for any reason they choose.

  5. total says:

    Most people would agree that Obama is pushing the country toward socialism. If the government controls healthcare, how long will it be before it decides who lives and dies by depriving service? e.g. John Doe has cancer and his treatments are too costly.

    The founding fathers were amazingly insightful in limiting the powers of the federal government.

    I am no fan of war, but I believe if we weren't there, we'd have experienced more attacks like 9/11.

  6. steve says:

    I see someone people don't think 84% of total taxes paid by only 20% of taxpayers is fair enough. I also see people don't understand corporate tax. Look at a income statement for a public company. You will see that they pay 33% on net income across the board. It is ridiculous that some people think others should take care of them. What makes you so special, that you shouldn't have to work or do anything productive?

  7. Neverready says:

    Said by Ike: "Most politicians could not run a business unless they had a open ended checkbook, for it is evedent they do not understand you cannot spend more than you have."

    Oh, so self-evident.

    Should voters/politicians be required to take an IQ test before voting/serving?

  8. Terry says:

    I've never inherited a dime in my life and don't expect to do so. I don't understand why if I pay taxes on earnings, then choose to not spend it all, the "benevolent" and "fair" toads in D.C. come along and tax my savings/investments. We've almost reached the point now where half the country pays NOTHING in taxes and are somehow 'entitled' to the fruits of others labors. My advice is to get off your duff and earn it. The country, and the people who actually pay for it, owe you NOTHING.

  9. annonymous wise spender says:

    The rich dont get rich because they are stupid and the poor dont get poorer because they are frugal... its the other way around.. the rich people are frugal people who save up their money so they can become rich and live within the means of income, while the poor overspend and become poorer... not realizing why they are not earning enough money. If you can afford to live with $100 a week then live by it and not spend $150 and end up bankrupt. I am not rich nor poor because i live by what i can afford and not what i desire.

  10. Charlie says:

    I have no retirement fund in my job. I pay enough taxes to fund many others to have a high government salary and retirement fund. I pay exorbitant prices for fuel and other items such that those elite workers may have lucrative retirement packages.
    So I start a business working after my full time job. I work all night many times and just very late on the others. I was going to save every penny I made for retirement but now my entire income from the day job goes for taxes.
    I more than tripled my salary but get less than twice as much. My work life sucks!

  11. jtubel says:

    If we quit feeding, clothing and housing the lazy our taxes would be much lower. If you can't afford to take care of kids don't have them. We are supporting 5 and 6 kids for each nonworking female who chooses to have children that they cant support and have different non child support paying fathers. Our welfare system sucks and it is destroying all of us hard workers. Disability is no longer for the disabled. It is for anyone who can talk a doctor into saying they are mentally unable to work. There wouldn't be a forum that spoke of the rich and middle class if the unemployed (some never having a job) would work.

  12. Joel says:

    First of all, I have been both fairly well off (28%) and very, very poor, so take what I say with whatever grain of salt you choose... Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, likes the tax code! It is convoluted, counter-intuitive, and inefficient. If we had to create it from scratch, there is no chance we would do it this way. This is a result of evolution of the tax code, and it is full of loopholes benefiting whoever had the power to insert them at whatever point they were inserted. Surely a consumption based code would be better, fairer, and could embody progressivness without flogging the rich. Having said that: to all of you who say "anyone who is rich had to work really hard to get that way" - what world do you live in? The rich are no more likely to be hard workers than the poor are likely to be lazy or noble. A lot depends on luck (for instance, did you win the birth lottery? Did you happen be an officer at Union Carbide when Bophal went off?) You should stop making staggeringly simple-minded deductions based on the amount of money people have. I've known rich and I've known poor, and there are sinners & saints in the same proportions as every other slice of life. Being rich doesn't make you a cad, but it is no sign of character, either .

  13. Joel says:

    Oh, for the benefit of you flat-earthers: theft is a legal definition. Taking money (taxes) as defined by the law is therefore not theft, no matter how much you want to call it that. Just like murder is against the law, but taking a life in self-defense is not, even tho they both involve the death of a human. Stop pretending the law can't do what the law CAN do! If you think tax RATES are unfair, that is one thing, but to pretend that taxes are unfair, well, that's stupid. How do you think Alexander the Great conquered the world? Think troops fought for nothing? How about the Romans? Think the Coliseum was built for free? Always the same with you people - the first to state "Freedom isn't free", but the first to think roads and schools should be! Want to be a rugged individualist who makes their own way? Then go live in the desert; civilization costs money.

  14. TimT says:

    @Joel: I'll speak for my fellow "flat-earthers". Even though putting Jews in the gas chamber was perfectly legal in Nazi Germany, it was still murder. It is perfectly reasonable to consider taxation as theft. Unfortunately, as you say in a round-about way, it is a necessary evil. But when the taxes are squandered on feel-good liberalism and vote buying schemes by progressive politicians, the theft is more onerous. Roads should solely be built by gas and vehicle taxes. That way the people who utilize them the most pay the most. Schools shouldn't be funded and certainly shouldn't be run by the government at all. The modern day Coliseum (think sports stadiums) should NOT be funded by taxes. Paying troops is a valid function of government and is one of the few things taxes should go toward. And I don't think we need to go about conquering the world.

    When a liberal talks about funding "civilization" that means subsidizing things *they* think are important. Funding for the arts is an example. If an artist cannot make a living doing his art, it's not a profession, it's a hobby. I don't get to use the government as a proxy to stick a gun at my neighbor's head and make him support me while I pursue my hobbies, so why should he just because he's an "artist"?

  15. ttm says:

    # Pat Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 8:12 pm
    Meanwhile, all of the rich tycoons and CEO's are able to bypass the high tax brackets through tax shelters like the home mortgage deduction and buy all of the yachts and expensive indulgences they want. It's not fair!

    Pat you really have no idea how the tax brackets work at all do you

    now let me ask you this, Why should I as a higher income level tax payer pay more more than you per dollar? how is that fair? how is it fair that we spent tons on education, spent years building a reputation to get the higher paying jobs, and now you want some of my money! why? is it because you were just to lazy or unmotivated to better yourself?

    now lets just say seeing how your low pay you made c's in school, maybe we should had taken your your points it took to get that c and given it to the ones that got f's, now your a d grade but hey that is fair because now the guy that got the f now is the same as you, Now one more time why should I pay a higher % than you per dollar, i guarantee I am far less a tax burden on this country that you are at my 33% tax income level (which bte really is NOT a full 33% of the total taxable income you idjut ( example is based on 210,000 (trhe 22% bracket) and it only taxes 47,081 a mere 22% i pay,

    now before you have a heart attack, go learn how the tax brackets work, go learn just how much of a burden I am compared to you on this country and then tell me why I should pay more than you do in taxes, and why are you so dang jealous we have more than you ever will have? why? I bet your parents are really proud of you for being so jealous

  16. JM says:

    I'm appalled at many of the posters here who demand the rich pay up. You are a SOCIALIST. And, look how well socialism has faired overseas... Oh wait. It hasn't.
    I and my spouse make over 200k per year. Am I rich? depends on your definition of rich. I don't think so.. I think I'm just Middle America.
    However, I DO NOT have ANY debt other than my mortgage. No car payments, no credit cards -- not even a gas card. Nothing. Therefore, ALL the money that I earn, after Uncle sam takes his already to big of a cut, is MINE TO KEEP. Mine. Why should I give you any because you suck at money management? or failed at life? Sorry. I busted my butt to get where I'm at. I served six years in the USAF, got out, worked on the GM Assembly Line in Linden, NJ, and PAID MY WAY THROUGH SCHOOL to get where I'm at. I HAD A PLAN and a CLUE. Get One you dumbass.
    I REFUSE TO SUPPORT YOU. I'm sick and tired of a carrying you whiners on my back. And a word to our illustrious, and broke governement: Keep you filthy, greedy hands out of my pockets. I pay my fair share and that's enough.
    OMG Like I said, I'm appalled at the statements many of you have made here about the rich supporting you. Who the freakin' hell do you think you are???!!! Get up, go out, kill something, drag it home. Take care of your own as Dave Ramsey is fond of saying.

  17. JM says:

    I bet that if I ask the whiners here who think the "rich" should be taxed further they can immediately identify who survived on the island? or who is boinking who on TV you all will have an answer won't you? Me? Not a clue. Have NEVER ever seen a survivor episode, Don't watch lots of TV. I have fun other ways. Like I said in my previous post. Get a freakin' clue and a life.

  18. norker says:

    man, what a lot of kooks

  19. Nobama says:

    This is truly disgusting...

    I am in the highest tax bracket, I have paid my dues to America by working hard, not committing crimes, and being a consumer.
    You liberals and democrats want more jobs? companies pay enough as it is, if you want more employment the minimum wage MUST be lowered.. economics states that this is true.

    I consume goods, thus by my consumption more products must be made, and more jobs are needed to create those products. A person supported by the government is only a burden. Why should they have to work if the government gives them handouts anyway.

    People may say that I am disgusting for my beliefs, but I boost the economy enough with my spending power, so why should I be taxed MORE than I already am?

    The "big banks" shouldn't have been bailed out? for those of you people with loans, where do you think that money comes from? a printing press? NO! it comes from Goldman Sachs, BofA and other large banks. If we were to let those banks go bankrupt, we would have no economy to speak of.

    For those people who say you have a "right" to everything, in America you have the right to 3 things they are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. you do not deserve help, ever, that is not what the constitution guarantees.

    I think any view aside from mine is just ludicrous, why? bc I have a business degree and an MBA and a JD I am also a CFA. I know what can happen and I've seen the trends of the economy. it will never get better if people are dependent on the government.

    We cannot worry about health care when we are in the economic state that we are currently in... people need to be responsible for their actions. I work at a fortune 500 company, we have 5 people in our "higher ups" that grew up in extreme poverty, and they are more a proponent of lower taxes and less hand outs than I am!!

    If you're going to tax me more, my vote in elections should be worth more, if I give more to the country, why should I not have more of an effect on the process and procedures of this country.

    Sure some people need handouts, but if you work hard enough, ANYONE can succeed. for the people receiving governmental help, you deserve to be drug tested, you deserve to be subsidized, if the government tells you to do something, you must do it. The government is your mommy and your daddy, the judge, jury and executioner.

    people must realize that each person deserves nothing but what they (or someone in their family) works for.

  20. Heather in SD says:

    For those who want to point the finger at those top earners shame on you. If you were making that much money you would be singing a different tune. I am in the mid tax bracket and find it difficult to part with that much money in taxes to the government. So why be penalized for being successful!?!? How about the government take the time to streamline spending and STOP waste!!!!!

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