What's my filing status?

One of the first things you'll need to do when preparing your tax return is to choose the proper filing status. Your filing status is based upon your marital and family situation. Your filing status will determine which tax rates apply to your taxable income. Under our graduated income tax system, as your income rises, not only does your total tax bill go up, but the percentage of tax that your additional income is taxed at also increases. The lowest percentage of tax the IRS claims is 10% - the highest percentage of tax the IRS claims is 35% (not including phase-outs, etc.). Your filing status also determines the total standard tax deduction(s) you can claim on your tax return. The filing statuses are Single, Married Filing Jointly, Married Filing Separately, Head of Household, and Qualifying Widow or Widower.

If more than one filing status applies to you, you may choose the one that will give you the lowest tax on your tax return. You should review the Tax Rate Schedules below for the various filing statuses.

Below are the tax rate schedules. By using the appropriate schedule for the taxpayer's filing status you can determine the taxpayer's tax bracket. The tax brackets are adjusted each year for inflation. If the inflation rate in 2010 is 5%, the 15% bracket for 2010 will be increased by 5% -  rounded down to the nearest $50. The taxpayer's tax bracket is the amount of tax that the taxpayer pays on his "top dollar" of income. The actual tax rate that the taxpayer pays on his taxable income below his "top dollar" is less because the tax rates are graduated and because they are applied to the taxpayer's taxable income after deductions and exemptions. The taxpayer may also be entitled to tax credits against any tax due.

Determine the taxpayer's taxable income from Form 1040 Line 43 and in the far left column of the appropriate schedule for the taxpayer's filing status locate his income bracket. The percentage figure in the third column to the right  titled "The tax is:" shows the taxpayer's tax bracket.

CAUTION: You should only use the schedules below to determine the taxpayer's tax due if the taxpayer's taxable income (Form 1040, Line 43) is $100,000 or more. Even though you cannot use the tax rate schedules below if the taxpayer's taxable income is less than $100,000, all levels of taxable income are shown so you can see what the taxpayer's tax bracket is.
 
Schedule X — Single
If taxable income is  over-- But not over-- The tax is:
$0 $8,350 10% of the amount over $0
$8,350 $33,950 $835.00 plus 15% of the amount over $8,350
$33,950 $82,250 $4,675.00 plus 25% of the amount over $33,950
$82,250 $171,550  $16,750.00 plus 28% of the amount over $82,250
$171,550 $372,950 $41,754.00 plus 33% of the amount over $171,550
$372,950 no limit $108,216.00 plus 35% of the amount over $372,950

Schedule Y-1 — Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er)
If taxable income is  over-- But not over-- The tax is:
$0 $16,700 10% of the amount over $0
$16,700 $67,900 $1,670.00 plus 15% of the amount over $16,700
$67,900 $137,050 $9,350.00 plus 25% of the amount over $67,900
$137,050 $208,850 $26,637.50 plus 28% of the amount over $137,050
$208,850 $372,950 $46,741.50 plus 33% of the amount over $208,850
$372,950 no limit $100,894.50 plus 35% of the amount over $372,950
Schedule Y-2 — Married Filing Separately
If taxable income is  over-- But not over-- The tax is:
$0 $8,350 10% of the amount over $0
$8,350 $33,950 $835.00 plus 15% of the amount over $8,350
$33,950 $68.525 $4,675.00 plus 25% of the amount over $33,950
$68,525 $104,425 $13,318.75 plus 28% of the amount over $68,525
$104,425 $186,475 $23,370.75 plus 33% of the amount over $104,425
$186,475 no limit $50,447.25 plus 35% of the amount over $186,475
Schedule Z — Head of Household
If taxable income is  over-- But not over-- The tax is:
$0 $11,950 10% of the amount over $0
$11,950 $45,500 $1,195.00 plus 15% of the amount over $11,950
$45,500 $117,450 $6,227.50 plus 25% of the amount over $45,500
$117,450 $190,200 $24,215.00 plus 28% of the amount over $117,450
$190,200 $372,950 $44,585.00 plus 33% of the amount over $190,200
$372,950 no limit $104,892.50 plus 35% of the amount over $372,950

Continued.....


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