Income Tax 2011

2009 Federal Individual Income Tax Rates, Deductions and Exemptions

See the American Opportunity Tax Credit to help you with college costs.

Tax return due 2009: April 15, 2010, unless you file an extension with form 4868 until October 15, 2010.

You have to pay federal income tax and on top of that state and local income tax in most states. Your tax bracket depends upon your income and your tax-filing classification.

There are six federal income tax brackets (ranging from 10% to 35%), the brackets per state vary. There are five classifications: Single, Married Filing Jointly, Qualified Widow or Widower, Married Filing Separately, and Head of Household.


2009 Individual Federal Income Brackets and Tax Rates

Tax Rate
SingleMarried Filing
Jointly or qualifying widow(er)
Married Filing
Head of
10% $0 - $8,350 $0 - $16,700 $0 - $8,350 $0 - $11,950
15% $8,351 - $33,950 $16,701 - $67,900 $8,351 - $33,950 $11,951 - $45,500
25% $33,951 - $82,250 $67,901 - 137,050 $33,951 - $68,525 $45,501 - 117,450
28% $82,251 - $171,550 $137,051 - $208,850 $68,526 - $104,425 $117,451 - $190,200
33% $171,551 - $372,950 $208,851 - $372,950 $104,426 - $186,475 $190,201 - $372,950
35% $372,951 and more $372,951 and more $186,476 and more $372,951 and more

How does it work? For example: a single without children pays income tax above a filing threshold (see below) of $9,350. This threshold is - not for 65 or older, qualified widower and if you don't itemize your deductions - the Standard Deduction (see below) of $5,700 plus the Personal Exemption (see below) of $3,650. So, a single would actually pay 0% over the first $9,350 of income. After subtracting this amount from her or his income, the brackets start to work. Over the next $8,350 a single pays 10% tax; 15% over the amount between 8,351 and $33,950 etc.

2009 Personal Filing Threshold

under 65
Married Filing jointly 
under 65
Head of
0 children $9,350 $18,700 $12,000
1 child $22,350 $15,650
2 children $26,000 $19,300

Deductions: Individual tax payers are allowed a choice when preparing their income tax returns. They can itemize their deductions from a list of allowable items and subtract those itemized deductions (see below) and their personal exemption deductions (see below) from their AGI to get their Taxable Income. Or they can choose to subtract the standard deduction (see below) and their personal exemptions. The choice between standard and itemized deduction depends on:

  • a comparison between both types of deductions: what choice gives more money to subtract?
  • do you have kept records of the items you want to subtract? - you need them as prove.
  • if you are filing as 'Married', Filing separately', and your spouse itemizes, you have to do that to.

2009 Exemptions: for yourself (personal exemption), spouse (if you are married) or your dependents: $3,650 per person.

The personal exemption is not a subject to federal income tax, but it is the minimal amount of money you need to get by at a subsistence level. The Exemption amounts claimed are subject to a phaseout when the taxpayer's AGI exceeds a threshold amount.

Exemption Phaseout 2009

Married Filing 
jointly or
Married Filing
Head of 
Phaseout begins 
when AGI exceeds
$166,800 $250,200 $125,100 $208,500
Phaseout completed 
when AGI exceeds
$289,300 $372,700 $186,350 $331,000

You can take an exemption for yourself  - the personal exemption - or for your dependents, but you cannot do that if you can be claimed as a dependent by another taxpayer - even if this taxpayer doesn't actually claim you as a dependent. If you are married you can claim an exemption for your spouse filing Jointly or Separately - only if another taxpayer doesn't claim your spouse  as a dependent. You cannot claim a person dependent unless that person is your Qualifying Child or qualifying relative.

You must always list the social security number (SSN) of any dependent for whom you claim an exemption. If you don't list the SSN the exemption could be denied.


2009 Personal Standard Deductions

DeductionsSingleMarried Filing jointly 
Married Filing SeparatelyHead of HouseholdDependents
Standard $5,700 $11,400 $5,700 $8,350 $950
Blind/Elderly $1,400 $1,100 $1,400 $1,400

2009 Itemized Deductions: to come, see till then: IRS Itemized Deductions


2009 State Income Tax