2009 Federal Income Tax Brackets (Official IRS Tax Rates)

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9/16/09: The inflation data for 2009 have been released, so you can find the 2010 income tax brackets.

2/26/09: These IRS tax brackets are official.

The Labor Department released inflation data yesterday and the Wall Street Journal had three tax experts estimate how all the inflation-pegged tax figures would change based on those numbers. Many tax numbers, like the brackets, exemptions, standard deductions, etc., are pegged to inflation so knowing the Labor Department figures can give you huge insight into how those numbers will move. The three experts are George Jones, senior federal tax analyst at CCH; William Massey, senior tax analyst for the tax & accounting business of Thomson Reuters; and Prof. James C. Young, professor of accountancy at Northern Illinois University. The Wall Street Journal does this every year and, for as long as I can remember, they’re often it pretty spot on. Based on their calculations, a bunch of inflation-pegged tax numbers are going up.

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All these figures are merely estimates, the government can always go back and adjust inflation figures so these numbers may change.

2009 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Here’s what they projected for the income tax brackets for 2009, compared to 2008 figures:
Projected 2009 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Some other changes:

  • Standard deduction increases: The standard deduction for married filling jointly is expected to increase to $11,400 from $10,900, a $500 increase. Singles and those married filling separately will get a standard deduction of $5,700, a $250 increase from $5,450 in 2008.
  • Personal exemption increases: The personal exemption amount will increase $150 to $3,650.
  • $13,000 gift tax exclusion: Professor Young believes that that gift tax exclusion amount will increase from $12,000 to $13,000. Right now, if you give more than $12,000 a year to someone as a gift, you have to pay a gift tax on it (yes, the giver of the gift pays the tax). Professor Young believes that number will increase to $13,000.

More insight and explanation can be found at the Wall Street Journal and here were their predictions on last year’s IRS tax brackets.

{ 56 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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56 Responses to “2009 Federal Income Tax Brackets (Official IRS Tax Rates)”

  1. Ken says:

    Do you mean 11,300?

    And currently i believe the gift tax exemption is 12000. Thats from each person. So a couple could give 24000 currently to one person.

  2. jim says:

    Dang, I’m just having a bad reading day. Thanks Ken 🙂

  3. T.McViegh says:

    In 1773 a mob of American colonists famously dumped crates of tea belonging to the British East India Company into Boston harbor. It was a direct action by citizens against the tax regime of the British government, and just one of several incidents that ultimately led to the Revolutionary War.
    More than two-hundred years later Americans still notoriously abominate taxes. They hate taxes so much that they deny themselves a privilege taken for granted by every other civilized nation on earth, namely, universal healthcare.
    So how can they just sit quietly by as the greatest tax rip-off of all time is inflicted on them?
    The $700,000,000,000 bailout package approved by the senate will place a tax burden of several thousand dollars on every man, woman, and child in the U.S. and that’s on top of the huge debt they already bear. It is a burden that exceeds by an order of magnitude the burden that the British tried to place on the American colonists after the Seven Year’s War. More significantly, it is the result not of justifiable expenditure, but of corruption at the highest levels. and it is not nearly enough.
    Yet all is quiet. No protests in the streets, no angry mobs,no roadside bombings,no sniping of government officials, no latter-day Boston Tea Partiers tarring and feathering the crooked politicians and bankers who made it all possible.

    Exactly what do you have to do to people in the twenty-first century amerika to provoke direct action? AWAKE!

    • tjk says:

      how many jobs were affected by the lack of tea ???

    • Smarter than you says:

      T. McViegh

      After the Boston Tea Party, our country gained its independence. The right of free speech allows idiots such as yourself to go post your thoughts on internet message boards under the pseudonym of a terrorist. There’s no protests because most American accept taxes as the necessary cost to live in civilized society. Yes, there is waste in government and we should provide health care to all Americans but to liken today’s political atmosphere with that of 1773 cheapens the sacrifices made by our fore father in that revolutionary time. Our taxes are regressive meaning that you most likely pay less taxes than I do which is good cause I don’t seem to mind paying them as much as you do.

      • Brien says:

        I think you miss an important issue of modern taxation in the US tax codes today. They are so complicated that not even our newly appointed Treasury Director,(I am so smart) Tim Geithner could figure them out,or so he claims anyway. Otherwise, he is a tax cheat, but either way it reinforces the need for change in the US tax codes.

        The US needs a simplified tax code that is user friendly such as the flat tax on income or a National VAT sales tax to replace the current income tax codes. This is the real issue, not whether taxes are necessary, but whether they are fair and easily paid by the citizens.

        There will be many tax protests around the nation and you will be able to see them if you merely tune into them on April 15th. Try the one scheduled in Atlanta Ga.

        Oh and btw, the seeds of the American Rebellion against the Crown really began in the Colonies in 1740’s over the issue of impressment, not taxation. Google HMS Lark for some education on the issue of impressment that concerned the Colonists, more so than taxation at that point in time, when the Rebellion was in its infancy. These types of changes take time.

        This will show you the call for change began a full 48 years before 1789 when the new government of the United States was actually established, “smarter than you”.

      • randomsignal says:

        “Smarter than you” obviously isn’t smart enough to read carefully before replying.
        “T.McViegh” may have chosen a username in poor (imo) but his call for protests was against the bail-out package, not taxes in general.
        I don’t much like the bail-out myself. Maybe it was necessary to prevent widespread economic ripples, but it should have had a lot more strings on it. I think maybe the reason there isn’t more protest is because most people (like me) aren’t really sure what the best solution would be.

      • Fawn says:

        Actually, the tax situation is far worse than it was back then. Because the taxes then were not as high as they are now, and they were more equivalent to a gas tax. They were NOT an income tax. In fact, there was NO INCOME TAX back then. Only reason there was a fuss was because there was no colonial representative in parliament. The Colonial big wigs threw a tantrum because King George wouldn’t let them play politics at his circus.

      • jack Kolinski says:

        To: Smarter than you:
        Wow! Sane people do not usually post on these websites. Thanks for appreciating that taxes are not a necessary evil but a necessary good. As Holmes said: “a price I happily pay to buy civilization.” It actually hadn’t occurred to me that “T. McVeigh” was a psydonym but you are probably right. Most cranks try not to use their real name, although in fairness, a lot of them are the way they are because they do not know who their fathers were. Excellent post!

        • Larry Andrews says:

          Direct taxes on the people are a necessary good?


          When my taxes are my greatest expense in a year.

          That I can be prosecuted for not paying taxes (my liberty taken).

          That my home and property can be taken from me without due process.

          Our forefathers wrote in the federal constitution that the federal government could not directly tax the people… FOR A REASON. IT LEADS TO TYRANNY.

      • staticxcaliber says:

        You Should look up “Fair Tax” Ron Paul was really pushing for it. It never went anywhere due to the fact that it gives to much power back to the people. I would have been great and worked alot better than what we have goin on currently. I dont care to pay taxes but i do care about how they are spent. We dump millions and billions of dollars on things that are not justified! itis thetnt tht weare taxed also. a business pay 2 forms a payroll tax sales tax business tax and at the end of a year pays a income of profit tax. then you get taxed and pay sales tax when you buy something not the mention on tobacco has a stamp tax sin tax along with sales tax. it is CRAZY!!!!! and then not to be able to see where is goes? I dont oppose tax but you can only squeeze so much out of a dollar till there is nothing left. Then on top of that we are still barrowing money from china and god Knows who else…….our goverment has a spending problem and you and i my friend pay for it!!!

  4. andy says:

    Useful information and look forward to a fatter tax return next year (I need it!). I have 2 tips on taxes for next year based on a recent post, make sure you take advantage of the new 401K limit (raised to $16K) and of the capital loss writeoff provision.

  5. Rachel says:

    Ya know I really prefer the old name of the blog much better. Bargaineering just doesn’t sound as cool.

  6. Christine says:

    I have a 36 year old son who is a senior in college. My tax rate is 25. Son is totally dependent on me for his living expenses and part of his college tuition.(he gets college loans) Am I eligible for the Lifetime Learning Tax Credit?
    Thank you.

    • agree says:

      kick him out of the house he should have been done with school…

      • Fawn says:

        Do you file his taxes for him? If so, have his education credits and earned income credits deposited into your checking account.
        If not, then when he files his taxes, make him give you some money. There is no reason why he can’t support himself. I lived with my mom and paid for college with a job. She never had to give me a dime outside food costs, and I helped her some. My husband lived on his loan money until he finished college. All his parents paid for was his health insurance. If your son cannot reign in his spending, do it for him. Cut him off.

  7. Ken says:

    Lifetime Learning Credit Questions and Answers

    Q.2. May an individual claim a Lifetime Learning Credit for paying qualified tuition and related expenses for other family members?

    A.2. Yes. An individual may claim the credit for his/her own qualified tuition and related expenses and the qualified tuition and related expenses of his/her spouse and other eligible dependents (including children) for whom the dependency exemption is allowed. Generally, a parent may claim the dependency exemption for his/her unmarried child if: (1) the parent supplies more than half the child’s support for the taxable year, and (2) the child is under age 19 or is a full-time student under age 24.

  8. KP says:

    I’m thinking of moving and finding a job in my field int he UK. The taxes in America a pretty simple…we have brackets same as you but basically pay 15-25% taxes on our total income…each pay period how ever (weekly, bi weekly etc…) paid…I was taxed all year at 20%…I am wondering if you all have a more details deduction system. Thank,

  9. Jamie says:

    What expenses qualify for college related expenses for the tax credit

    • Richie Facemire says:

      The freaking IRS has it setup so that only the very poor can write off college on taxes. Moral of the story, quit your job and just let the government take care of you.

      • Fawn says:

        If you make too much money to qualify for educations credits, you are not ANYWHERE CLOSE to poor. Eligibility doesn’t phase out until your modified adjusted gross income (AGI) is (for 2008) between $48,000 and $58,000 ($96,000 and $116,000 if you file a joint return). Where I grew up, that is DAMN GOOD MONEY. You’ve got nothing to complain about. Those tax credits were implemented so that people who have to work like dogs just to keep above water can afford to take a classes now and then to increase their earning potential, or maybe to better their kids lives a little. It doesn’t even pay for much (20% of tuition only. Doesn’t even include books), just takes off some of the pressure.

  10. Pat Mack says:

    There will be a new tax law in 2009, where as
    seniors making less than $50,000 pay no income tax. Will this be based on net earnings or gross earnings?

    Please reply…I have been asking this question for months now and noone seems to have the answer.

    Thank you,

  11. Depression Kid says:

    I grew up in the Great Depression and there was mostly no food on the table during the early 30’s and not until preparations for World War II did things start to get better. My town was a small Texas city with 250,000 population. As a kid of 5, I helped my older brother sell newspapers on the streets, donuts, Liberty magazines, and turnips from Mon’s grocery door-to-door. FDR started us on the road to socialism with his New Deal, and he secretly backed us into a war in Europe agains Hitler. Helping Churchill with guns and butter when he had no other sources for help, and it was against public opinion, and raised as much undercurrent or opposition as the recent Iraq War did Bush 43.

    As a country, we seem to always be helping other countries with their struggles; seems that the Easterners were hell-bent on penning up the Indians (native Americans) back when the Santa Fe Trail was open and we were moving west, killing their buffalo (food supply) in the name of progress. Teddy had his war south of the border, Kennedy had Viet Nom, and FDR just had to help our friends in England save their shores. The Big War did bring us out of the Great Depression and my family who was poor started seeing chicken-fried steak and chcken on the table after years of doing without. We lost 500,000 in that stuggle and if ole Truman hadn’t dropped the bomb, my college classmates who gave their lives (13) would have soared with an extended war in the Pacific. They rushed our class into the Battle of the Bulge while just sophomores in college.

    Seems to me we did lots of good in the Middle East, now having a functional democracy in Iraq that should give our country yet unrealized benefits. I often wondered what response all those who objected to attacking Saddam Hussein expected our country to do, except respond to a terrorist attack on New York City. I’m way down here in Texas but I felt like those crazy jihadists needed their tails whipped. Any fool could see that Afghanistan was no place to fight a war! The Lord knows that our own Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson saw how fruitless that was, not to mention the Russians who were booted out as well.

    So now we have to fight the bums in that mountainous country and before long, it will be as costly as Iraq if we seriously expect to defeat the hoodlums. Obama will be able to use what monies we don’t spend in Iraq in Afgan, and hopefully we will be able to ween them off of poppies, and show them how to grow wheat in the mountains. That’s for real! That program was started a couple of years ago with one of our Texas colonels leading an Ag group.

    The liberals and some convervatives are telling us that Obama has to spend all this money and take over banks, autos, medicare, hospitals, and what doctors can and can’t do, tax the medical profession out of the business. Seems to me that docs gambled on spending 10-15 years getting to a position where they can get repaid (some rich) and we get better healthcare than most other countries. Drug companies don’t have to stay here in America, they can invent their pills anywhere, but overtaxing them will chase them away as it will any other corporations who manufacture anything.

    This tax code is shifting money my way. I received $1,200 last year and expect a check in the mail anyday for this year. I’m suppose to run out and spend it, but I only need to spend so much. Is the idea to take from the corporations who we do need to stay and create jobs in this country? Or from the very rich, and give to the poor? If that’s supposed to make all those who benefit (like me) vote for Obama or his party from now on, it won’t work. Folks are smart enough to see that nationalizing the passenger trains, the post offices, now the banks,autos, and next hospitals, medical care, and even telling our state we need to hire union workers if we take stimulus money to build highways. Who needs it that badly. We’ve done without before, and suffering through another recession made worse by all this spending will not work,and folks will revolt at the polls. They are not going to get out in the streets and raise cain, but they will pull the levers the other way with an a budget as proposed, and with a tax code that helps deflate our economy even more.

    Let’s get a flat tax rate in this country, and for the sake of unborn generations, maximum six-year terms of office for all elected offials inxcluding the president. Let’s impose political contributions to $1,000 per person and controlled by an election panel.

  12. Missed One says:

    the Boston teat party was actually in response to England removing a tax. The law of the dat held that only English tea could be sold and it was taxed making it too expensive for most people. In response, early entreprenuers smuggled tea from France and other countries to sell to most Americans. In order to sell more tea, the British removed the tax. The smugglers were pissed about lost sales so they dumped the English tea into the harbor.
    Oh yeah. now you know the rest of the story…

  13. DURRANI says:

    Most of my american friends always cry when the tax date arrives. On the other hand, I who have lived most of my life in third world countries, have paid taxes punctually as I do here and have never seen anything from that money. Gone! No social security, no law enforcement, no paved roads and streets, nothing. Practically that money disappears somewhere. Most probably in the pockets fo govenrment officialls.
    I feel blessed to have the opportunity to live in this country, work honestly and pay my taxes.
    In an emergency situation just one 911 response can be worth more than what I have paid in taxes till that day. It would at least save my life. The problem is that people have not seen other realities and they tend to take so many things for granted. And this not their fault either, they just do not know how it is to live in some other part of this world.
    We should be more than happy for what we have and have the honor to be a part of this great nation.
    It is a pleasure for me to be here.

    • been there says:

      I have been to numerous other countries and what makes them so good, is not the taxes you talk about. It is the fact when someone runs from the police and gets caught, the police beat there ass and no ACLU comes to defend them. I never saw someone run from the police like they do here in the US because of that. The sorry libs and progressives have ruin the country with the politically correct.

      • Correction says:

        Pretty sure you completely misunderstood (or are just ignorant) to what was said.

        This person is happy to pay their taxes because it actually goes towards something that benefits them (such as having an emergency service to call for help) instead of disappearing into a government and getting virtually NO benefit from it. Here we have public attorneys just so that everyone can be fairly represented by someone who knows the laws. If they did the crime they should go to jail… but what if they didn’t? what if the police were wrong? What if you were falsely accused of something and beaten by the police? I bet you’d be real glad at that point to not only have a clean hospital to go to (something liberals brought about) but also the right to be allowed to either be defended or defend yourself in court?

  14. Tom Good says:

    Regarding published 2009 federal tax rate schedules, these were in place before stimulus reductions. Will there be new rate schedules to take reductions into account?

  15. Bob H says:

    Will there actually be a $400 tax stimulus credit when we file next year for 2009, or is this “extra $14” in our paycheck (smaller withholding) just a postponement of our tax liability, since there is no change in tax rates…thus only a scam?

    • Fawn says:

      It is indeed merely a postponement. The idea is to slightly reduce the withholdings of people so that the the govenrment is not holding it for them, as usually happens. The result of this will be that in April, some people who have never had to do so before will find themselves paying taxes (which they have not saved up for)and possibly penalties in April, while those who normally get a big refund check will find that the April bonus they rely on from year to year to meet big expenses- to buy their kids summer clothes or fix their busted transmission- was meted out to them over the year, and they used the extra fifty bucks a month to go to the movies, because that was all it was enough for.

  16. Betty says:

    I just read the article published on Yahoo regarding the $250 stimulus money retirees are to receive by the end of May. Am I understanding it correctly that come tax time 2009 we will have to pay back that money as well as the extra money that comes in my husband’s pension check due to the reduction in taxes withheld? Why give it out of one hand and make us return it from the other hand? Why can the big shots working in the banking industry still receive bonuses for failing? I wouldn’t mind paying my fair share in taxes (and have for 50 years) if everyone else was doing the same.

  17. Richie Facemire says:

    I can only hope the terrorists start targeting the IRS. It would be a pleasant to hear the IRS, and all their reoords were blown to hell. Yes, the %$^*&#$ IRS takes most of my money.

    • Fawn says:

      The IRS does not take your money. They simply facilitate the organization and interpretation of the money Congress says you have to pay.

  18. Deb Ortiz says:

    The bottom line is that we can’t peacefully change the tax system in the US. People like Obama will have to be removed by other means.

  19. Bob H says:

    I still have not received any info on whether or not there actually is/will be a tax credit on our 2009 tax return, but this is my assumption. Someone please tell me if I am wrong. Most workers, not retired, will get a $400 tax credit unless they make over $75,000. You should be getting that credit right now in the form of lower withholding (approx. $14/week). This will drop to about $8/week next year. Retirees will get a $250 tax credit, and that, for most, will be paid in the form of a $250 check in the next few weeks. Since most are receiving their tax credit now or throughout the year, there will be a line on the 2009 tax forms which will reduce your tax due by $400 or $250 accordingly ($800 for married filing jointly, or $650 if one spouse is retired, or $500 if both are retired). If this is true, you aren’t “paying anything back” unless of course you exceed the $75,000 threshold (I think $150,000 for joint returns). Then you will probably pay some or all of it back. And since this is a tax credit, or more correctly a tax refund, you won’t pay any additional taxes on whatever you receive…it’s already your money and you’ve already paid taxes on it.

  20. George says:

    Tax rates are lower under Obama than they were under Ronald Reagan.

    The Boston Tea Party was a protest of taxation without representation. You have representation: if your that upset about your tax rate, vote your representatives out of office rather than creating an exagerated faux populist revolt.

    • Kayt says:

      That is our intention. We will start with the White House and work our through Congress. Incumbents be ware!

  21. Bob H says:

    I’ll try to be as neutral as I can here, but I must say that George is wrong. First of all, there are no tax rates under Obama yet. The current tax rates are those established under George Bush, which will run out at the end of this year. Next year’s tax rates will be considerably higher, even if Obama and the Congress does nothing, because the current tax cuts will expire. But the projected rates are considered to be even higher than that.
    The tea parties weren’t so much about taxation without representation, as about larger and larger Governments (yes, plural) taking more and more of your gross income. Most people think that the Governments only take between 10% to 30% of our income, and that the lower 40% of the population pays no tax at all. Everyone pays taxes. We are not only taxed on what we earn, but also on what we spend, what we save, what we possess. Most people think they are only taxed 7.7% for Social Security and Medicare. In reality you pay 15.3% of your salary for those soon to be bankrupt services. (Your employer matches your contribution with what would actually be your money).
    Federal, State, and Local income taxes are direct taxes you pay. Sales tax on just about everything you buy is a direct tax. Property taxes, and the myriad of fees you pay to go to parks, fish, drive on roads, etc., etc., etc. are direct taxes you pay. But who ever thinks about the prices of everything we buy and how much hidden tax and fees you are paying? US Industry pays the highest taxes in the world. They also have to pay sales tax on the material that goes into the products we buy. Not to mention all of the layers and layers of other taxes, fees, and costs of massive Government regulations. All of those “costs” are passed on to you in the form of the price you pay for goods and services. And of course this is one of the main reasons why US Industry cannot compete with the rest of the world. It’s a main reason why US Industry prefers to set up shop outside the US (let’s not get into the cost of our labor). And it’s the main reason why millions of people flock to WalMart and Home Depot every day to buy Chinese and Korean goods, and why Hyundai and Kia have joined Toyota and Honda as the best selling cars in the world. WE don’t want our own stuff, let alone the rest of the world. Obama and the current Congress have done nothing to create lasting jobs for America. In fact the current road will worsen our ability to compete in the world market, as if it could get any worse. Creating make-work Government funded jobs is like putting a band-aid on a severed artery. Wake up George. Do you really believe that tripling the size of Governments will make things better? And if you are an average middle class American, you pay somewhere between 60% to 80% of your hard earned money to your Governments.

    • saladdin says:

      bob, you make so many fair (and to me, valid) points but why doesn’t anyone ever talk about what we get for that tax money? waste and stupidity exists in all governmnets but it also exists in every household in this country.

      as to the tea parties, it’s hard to keep a straight face when thinking about these being “nonpolitical” (my word, not yours) when foxnews and msnbc are virtual sponsors.

      nice, fair and neutral post bob.


  22. Dennis says:

    The ridiculous statements of the libertarian style tea party propagandists are laughable.

    You’re unhappy cranks who don’t understand the way an economy works in the slightest. You cry and moan about the current system but you propose nothing. You just complain.

    Propose a real system change rather to incite a revolution based on a false understanding of history.

    The Boston Tea Party was simply a case of one group of tea retailers trying to protect their market from a cheaper alternative. They just figured out how to manipulate people into protecting their investment for them in the name of the people.

  23. Kayt says:

    Hmmm. Sounds like the Democratic party.

  24. dhbtoo says:

    I propose we adopt the Fair Tax.

  25. Ross says:

    haha, yes, us capitalists don’t understand how economies work in the slightest. I mean, just look at history and how well all of the heavily socialist nations have done over a long period of time. For instance, look at how great the USSR’s economy did compared to that of the USA over the same period. Or look at how well communist China has done by getting their GDP/capita almost up to what I make in one 2-week paycheck (and I’m just middle-class American… not really even upper middle class.) For further data points, check out the GDP/capita of Venezuela (which, by the way, has tons of oil,) Cuba, or any other nation that’s been under a heavily socialist regime for at least a few decades.

    If you think gov’t corruption in the U.S. is bad now, just wait until the socialists have had their way for about a generation. Having said that, I hope for all of our sakes that you never get that opportunity.

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