2009 Federal Tax Brackets

January 19, 2010

The 2009 federal tax brackets were released last April but here’s a reminder of where you stand when filing your federal income tax return. The tax bracket you end up in depends on the amount of your total taxable income; including pension plans or additional sources of income.

For example, if you are married filing jointly and your income is $70,500 then you will be classified in the 25% tax wages bracket. Below are the tax brackets, brief descriptions of the categories of filing status and some changes for the 2009 tax laws which may impact you.

Tax Bracket Single Married Filing Jointly/Qualifying Widower
10% $0-$8,350 $0-$16,700
15% $8,350-$33,950$16,700-$67,900
25% $33,950-$82,250$67,900-$137,050
28%$82,250-$171,550 $137,050-$208,850
33% $171,850-$372,950$209,250-$373,650
35% $372,950+$372,950+

Don’t try to determine your tax bracket by looking at the Withholding Rate on your paycheck stub because it may be at a rate of 20% which is in between Federal Tax Brackets. An easy way to estimate your taxable income is to check last year’s tax return and look for what’s labeled “taxable income”. This will make doing your 2009 tax returns easier because you now only need to determine if there are any new sources of taxable income to add.

Tax Bracket Married Filing SeparatelyHead of Household
10%$0-$8,350 $0-$11,950
28%$68,525-$104,425 $117,450-$190,200
33%$104,425-$186,475 $190,200-$372,950

Tax Status Descriptions
Single – This status is for an unmarried individual filing alone.

Married/Filing Jointly – This status is for married couples who choose to file their tax return as one together.

Married/Filing Separately – Some married couples choose, for personal or financial reasons, to continue filing separately, though not as a Single status.

If you are married but filing separately, keep in mind with children that dependent exemptions can only be claimed by one of you, not both.

Head of Household – This status does not claim marital status. You don’t have to claim a dependent to qualify as Head of Household.

2009 Federal Income Tax Return Changes & Increases

  • Personal and dependency exemptions have increased $150 for most tax payers.
  • New standard deductions have increased $500 for married couples filing jointly, $250 for singles and married couples filing separately, $350 for heads of household.
  • Earned income tax credit for moderate and low income workers and working families with two or more children is up $204. It’s up $1,769 for families, filing jointly, with two or more children.
  • Gift Exclusion is increased by $1,000.
  • Social Security Contribution and Wage Benefit Base is increased $4,800.
  • Roth and Traditional IRA Contribution limits had no changes made.

Hopefully these numbers will help as you prepare your tax returns this year. If you need more detailed information or have specific questions regarding your federal income tax return you can contact your local Internal Revenue Service office or visit the IRS website.


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Debbie Dragon is a full-time writer who has been covering personal finance online for almost 9 years.

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4 Responses to 2009 Federal Tax Brackets

  • Paul Libor

    Was late to submit 2004 and 2007 returns and ha to send in returns with interest and penalties to IRS. They had the paper work since September 2009 – and each time I call the cust support line, they are saying they are processing the returns – in the meanwhile the penalties and insrest is still compounding – Is there an executive escalation or a executive Ombudsman at the IRS I can comp[lain to – to escalate the issue? Thanks, Paul, Dallas TX

  • Daddy Paul

    Thanks for posting.
    I would like to remind anyone who can to take advantage of the savers tax credit.


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