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Federal Tax Brackets 2011

Published 6/24/10 (Modified 6/17/11)
By MoneyBlueBook

Federal Tax Brackets 2011

Although it seems like we already cut a pretty good share of income from our paychecks to satisfy federal income tax demands, most of us had better brace ourselves for a rise in our 2011 federal tax returns as the federal deficit is on track to hit new highs.

Many tax cuts enacted by President Bush in 2001 and 2003 are set to expire in 2010. These cuts were designed to help all income levels: America's low-, middle-, and higher-income workers. The Tax Foundation summarized some of the major changes to the tax code during the last decade:

  • lowered key federal tax brackets (28% to 25%, 31% to 28%, 36% to 33%, 39.6% to 35%) and created the 10% federal tax bracket
  • doubled the child tax credit to $1,000 per child
  • made more married couples eligible for the earned income tax credit (EITC) and raised the standard deduction for joint filers

More Uncertainty Than in Years Past

As the United States budget deficit hits astronomical levels, we have good cause to worry about what "paying our fair share" means. Usually, a number of tax provisions are legally tied to inflation--and as there's not been too much of that lately, you might think the projected tax provisions won't move much.

That was the case for the 2010 income tax bracket projections. But for 2011, the triple whammy of the deficit, the recession, and scheduled expirations to previous tax code changes makes for some uncertainty. As of this writing, how Congress is going to address the expiration of those significant tax cuts and credits has not yet been resolved.

What's the 2011 tax year outlook? Let's take a closer look at what to expect in 2011 for federal tax bracket income ranges and other changes.

2011 Projected Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax experts feel that the brackets we've grown accustomed to are going to increase to pre-Bush administration levels or at least begin adjusting in that direction, though the recession has put a dent in President Obama's ability to simply let the tax cuts of the last decade lapse. Among the major changes proposed, is raising the top two federal tax brackets back to 36% and 39.6%.

Policy experts at groups like the Tax Foundation have come up with projections for 2011 federal income tax brackets for various filers. Here are their estimates for 2011 tax bracket income thresholds for married and single filers, assuming that the tax code supports what has been laid out in President Obama's budget.

Federal Income Tax Brackets For 2011--Based On Taxable Income Ranges

Tax Rate
Married Couples Filing Jointly
Most Single Filers
10% Not over $17,050 Not over $8,525
15% $17,050 - $69,300 $8,525 - $34,650
25% $69,300 - $139,850 $34,650 - $83,900
28% $139,850 - $235,550 $83,900 - $194,150
36% $235,550 - $380,500 $194,150 - $380,500
39.6% Over $380,500 Over $380,500

Again, this assumes that the highest two federal tax brackets move back to their pre-Bush tax cut levels of 33% and 35%, respectively. We'll make updates if the IRS comes out with different official numbers.

Other Federal Income Tax Projections for 2011

Other 2011 tax year predictions from experts, mostly based on scheduled changes, include:

  • Standard deduction increase: The standard deduction should increase from $5,700 to $5,800 for single filers and from $11,400 to $11,600 for those married filing jointly.
  • Revival of the estate tax: For people who die after 2010, the federal estate tax will be revived with an exemption of $1,000,000 and a maximum rate of 50%. But Congress is widely expected to take action on the estate tax issue in 2010--too late to catch some estates that have, by pure luck of timing (for their tax burden, anyway), escaped estate taxes entirely.
  • Increase in long-term capital gains rate: The long-term capital gains rate had temporarily been decreased to 15%; it's meant to go back up to 20%, though filers in the 10% and 15% federal tax bracket will likely be subject to a 5% capital gains rate.
  • Qualified dividends: In 2011, dividends may be taxed as ordinary income based on your highest marginal tax rate; another likely scenario is that they will follow the long-term capital gains rate of 20% for federal tax brackets of the 25% marginal rate and higher.
  • Child tax credit: The $1,000 credit per child may go back to $500 for 2011 unless the higher credit is extended.

How to Prepare for Your 2011 Federal Income Tax Return

Now is a good time to revisit your tax deductions. Planning ahead with more information means we won't be left in a lurch come Tax Day, or the opposite pitfall, withholding too much.

The appropriate versions of tax prep software for the 2011 tax year won't be out for a while, of course, but doing some research on the best tax preparation software can make it . Most software will automatically load in previous years' worth of tax information, so if you can commit to one side in the H&R Block vs TurboTax debate (or have another favorite entirely), using that software for 2010 is one way to stay ahead of the game for 2011.

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20 Responses to “Federal Tax Brackets 2011 | Income Tax Brackets 2011 | Money Blue Book” 

  1. jim fleming says:

    Will health care benefits paid by an employer be added to taxable income either next year or susequent years?

  2. Debra Meier says:

    I think they should cut the child tax credit. Sorry it will hurt my kids (they are older), who have kids, but when they were little I received nothing so why should everyone else who comes into the USA and get everything and lazy to. Why should the lazy people keep having kids and I support them. Shoot i support two kids with no help from anyone and i was single. I think that you should cut all the junk from people, I work three jobs, single and I can not make because a single person pays for everyone else, I am tired of it. I get taxes all the way around when is the SINGLE PERSONS TURN. Give us something back. I do not spend my money because i have nothing left after paying bills, which i hardly have any debt, rent is so high let alone try to own a house because taxes in Albany, NY will kill you. So, i pay for everyone else to live but my self. I think you should give the single person a brake once in a while.

  3. Kenneth Smith says:

    well according to Debra Meier all the kids in the world who have parents barely scraping by should go hungry and die off i guess there really is cold hearted people who dont give a da*n about anyone but their selves go to hell

  4. Jay Mann says:

    JW for President!!!!!!!!

  5. Laura Ashley says:

    If only people in Washington can relate to what is really going on in the real world. It's extremely frustrating to hear a coworker that is getting paid the same wages for the same job brag about the fact that she is getting more taxes than she paid in and can finally get that boob-job she always wanted. She had a live in boyfriend with a lot of money. With everyone elses taxes SHE looked great, but I was sick about it, since I brought home a lot less than I paid in. I for one got to pay for that wonderful boob-job!!! No one asked for my donation...Where's the democracy in that? When is Washington going to learn that there are people that are milking the system and the rest of us are paying for it. GIVE THE REST OF US THAT ARE WORKING HONESTLY A BREAK!!!!

  6. Richard says:

    Yeah it gets worse and worse! That $84K to $194K must be the right range for ole Politico - just stays as sweet as ever - 3% difference - and they are hitting the next two at an 8% and 3.9% fron there - Why not 5% across the board just breack up the braackets at 50K incremeants? After $300K tack on 1% every 100K? And reduce that 10% increase to the majority.

  7. paulie says:

    A ding-bat wrote this article, The net take of personal income taxes only pays for 1/8 of the federal budget, and has very little to do with the deficit. End the Fed and the deficit would go away.

  8. chris says:

    I think its fine they way it is !!!

  9. denise green says:

    i think there should be a flat tax for everyone. no nothing else, you earn a dollar you pay the same percent as a person who makes 1000.00. what then we don't even need as big of a tax dept. then, what another way to have the government money.

  10. frank says:

    Right on JW...tell the truth!
    94% tax on the most wealthy is how this country got so great...time to bring it back!

  11. TC says:

    Uh, JW has no clue what he is talking about. His "analysis" of the data couldn't be more wrong.

  12. amanda says:

    Debra meier... are u ok?? How u that broke with 3 jobs?? Quit bitc*in.. and complaining.. if u that broke u wouldn't be wishing that the child tax credit would drop. Ur an idiot. So according to you if your unhappy then EVERYONE should be right??

  13. suzanne says:

    Why does the government keep rewarding people for having MORE CHILDREN?! The planet can't support the ones we have NOW!! and, for some reason, single people are the forgetten ones when it comes to taxes. It's been proven that single people don't live as long, have to pay their rent or mortgage and expenses ALONE instead of SHARED and yet, we can't ever get a break!! Single people are not producing as much green house gas as a family of 4. Remember that the child deductions and married deductions were instituted right after WWII, when the US was encouraging people to get married , buy a house,have a family and live out the "american dream". Yeah, well, look where that's got us now.

  14. Clint says:

    I am sick of Liberals saying "People should pay their fair share". Who decides what is fair? We have created a nation of cry babies wanting government hand outs. I am 36, put myself through college and have never asked the government or my parents for a dime after age 16 and I consider myself a success. I always knew that I was responsible for my own success. When I see rich people I want to work hard and be like them....not punish them. People need to wake up! Each of us is responsible for their own fortunes!

  15. Adam says:

    I'm starting to think that College was a bad idea. I didn't realize that being educated made me a bad person and that I was going to punished for being successful. My only option is to just get married! I'm being taxed just as much as a couple bringing in 140K! It is ridiculous. And the handouts that people with children recieve is pathetic. If you can't afford them, don't have them! And if you want them, pay for them yourself. I don't have kids because I'm paying for someone elses. Does that mean I'm entitled to tell that whiny brat to shut up?

  16. Paul says:

    CLINT FOR PRESIDENT! JW, you're an idiot. You spew the liberal talking points so beautifully, I almost thought you were Harry Reid! You CANNOT tax your way to prosperity....high taxes are NOT what brought us out of the depression. If high taxes were the answer, then let's have the government take 100% of EVERYBODY'S income. By your reasoning, then we'll all be rich & happy, right? WRONG! This is what communism is all about: controlling the people, like John Dingel-berry, from MI said on the radio. We got out of the depression by letting CAPITALISM work. I know that pains you, JW, to read that, but it's true. If you want the government to take care of you, go live in a country where they do that.

  17. Dan says:

    JW----Scares the hell out of me there are people in this country like you. Hopefully, you're a convicted felon and can't vote.

  18. TB says:

    The only way to reduce this deficit is a combination of realistic tax on wages; reduction in military sepnding, and reduction in entitlements. The reduction in the size of the military during the 90's helped to realize a surplus by 2001. But then W had to go avenge his daddy and attck Sadam over lies, cut taxes and here we are again in a deficit. Either you cut the big tickets items, or keep running a budget in the red. As far as taxing wealthier folks, that would generate some more income, but the real focus should be cutting the subsidies and grants all big business is chewing on...becuase if they are running record profits, then subsidies should not only go away, they should be repaid to the american people who provided them in the first place!

  19. Classy Sue says:

    How about being single with no children and being expected to pay for everyone else's children, all the meals of those incarcerated, all the gov't recipients infant formula and cheese....all while paying my own college loans, mortgage payment, car payment, utility bills, groceries and rising gas prices. Face it, just because I'm single doesn't mean I can afford to pay for you too.

  20. Slammyman says:

    I agree, it's simple, having children is a choice which costs. Should I get a bigger tax credit because I choose to have a pet Eelephant over a Goldfish? Clearly an Eelephant is my choice and I should pay for that choice, not burden those with no pets or less pets. A flat percent of each dollar sounds good but the middle class would pay the largest portion as usual. $80,000.00 /year with a flat 10% tax would leaves $72,000.00 for this person. $300,000.00/year with a flat 10% tax leaves this person $270,000.00

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