2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets

January 9, 2011

Income Tax Brackets 2011

The 2011 tax brackets have been released by the IRS with the official tax rates that you’ll use when you pay your federal income tax next year.  As you start looking for tax credits and deductions to lower your income taxes for the year that just ended you’ll use the 2010 federal tax brackets.

We originally published these as the projected 2011 tax rates back in 2010 but the federal tax cuts were extended last minute.  Thanks to the extension of the Bush tax cuts the 2011 tax rates that the IRS released were more favorable for high income earners.

The projected 2011 income tax rates would have introduced another tax bracket at the higher end. The  marginal tax rate for some in the 33% tax bracket would have dropped to 28% and for others would have risen to 36%.  However, the projections didn’t become reality so the number of tax brackets remains the same in 2011.

Remember, the 2011 taxes coming out of your paycheck will be a little lower thanks to the payroll tax cut that applies this year only.  Here are your 2011 income tax rates:

Single Tax BracketTax RateTax Calculator
$34,500-$83,60025%Free Tax Calculator

Married Filing Jointly Tax BracketTax RateTax Calculator
$69,000-$139,35025%Free Tax Calculator

Head of Household Tax BracketTax RateTax Calculator
$46,250-$119,40025%Free Tax Calculator

It is worth noting that tax tables change each year. Most of the time, these changes are quite insignificant, reflecting small adjustments to where certain incomes fall. Brackets are are adjusted to reflect inflation.

You might not even notice from year to year. However, the small changes eventually add up, and you might be shocked one year to find out just how much things have shifted. If you are interested in making the most of your money, it is important to know your tax bracket, and to be aware of where you might fall so that you can get the tax deductions you need to increase your tax efficiency.

How is Your Income Taxed?

The good news is that all of your income is not taxed in one bracket. That would make it rather difficult for many — even those in the 15% or 25% bracket — to meet their tax obligation. Instead, your income is taxed in different brackets.

For example, if you make $150,000 a year, and your status is married filing jointly, you would presumably be in the 28% bracket. However, your entire income is not taxed in that bracket. The first $17,000 of your income would be taxed at 10%. From $17,000 – $69,000 would be taxed in the 15% bracket. Your income from $69,000-$139,350 would be taxed at 25%. Only the portion of your income that falls between $139,351 and $150,000 would actually be taxed at 28%.

Understanding Your Tax Status

Your tax bracket is determined in part by your tax status, so it is a good idea to know what different terms mean. Here is a quick look at how to determine your filing status:

  • Single: Unmarried, filing individually.
  • Married Filing Separately: Married, but filing individually. Remember that only one of you can claim the dependent exemptions.
  • Married Filing Jointly: A married couple that files taxes together in a single return.
  • Head of Household: Does not claim marital status, but has dependent exemptions to claim.
  • Qualifying Widow/Widower: If your spouse died within the last two years, and if you are unmarried and have dependent exemptions to claim, you can use this status.

Tax Calculator 2011

If you’re wondering what the tax rates mean to your family, you can run the numbers with this free tax calculator.

Disclaimer: I am not a tax professional. The information here represents the best of my knowledge. Before making tax decisions, do your own research, or consult with a tax professional.


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Miranda writes about personal finance almost every day. An experienced freelance writer, she's covered your money online and in print from every angle and is always looking for new ones.

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