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2011 Federal Income Tax Brackets and Marginal Rates

This article was written by in Featured, Taxes. 26 comments.


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The extended deadline is here for filing your 2010 income tax return. Since the Bush era tax cuts were extended, the income you’ve earned in the United States this year is subject to the same low rates as last year, but the margins have been slightly adjusted for inflation.

In a few short months, 2012 will have begun. As of now, the rates will remain the same but again, the margins will be adjusted for inflation. Click here for the 2012 income tax brackets and marginal rates. In the article below, I outline the 2011 tax brackets. This is the information you can refer to when you file your 2011 income tax return, due April 16, 2012. If you’re filing your taxes in early 2012, you are reading the correct article.

Marginal tax rates are often misunderstood. If you are in the 33% tax bracket, you don’t owe 33% on all of your income. I’ve spoken to many people throughout the years who seem to be concerned about getting a bonus that is too high because it would knock them into a higher tax bracket. Being in a higher tax bracket is a good thing. You’ll only owe “more” tax on the portion of your income that falls within that bracket.

To lower your tax burden this year by up to $5,000, consider opening up an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). Mint.com has an IRA wizard that can show you what kind of IRA to open and where to open it.

Here are the tax tables for 2011. Most people will file their income taxes for 2011 at the beginning of 2012.

Married individuals filing joint returns and surviving spouses

If Taxable Income Is: The Tax Is:
Not over $17,000 10% of the taxable income
Over $17,000 but not over $69,000 $1,700 plus 15% of the excess over $17,000
Over $69,000 but not over $139,350 $9,500 plus 25% of the excess over $69,000
Over $139,350 but not over $212,300 $27,087.50 plus 28% of the excess over $139,350
Over $212,300 but not over $379,150 $47,513.50 plus 33% of the excess over $212,300
Over $379,150 $102,574 plus 35% of the excess over $379,150
Standard deduction $11,600

Heads of households

If Taxable Income Is: The Tax Is:
Not over $12,150 10% of the taxable income
Over $12,150 but not over $46,250 $1,215 plus 15% of the excess over $12,150
Over $46,250 but not over $119,400 $6,330 plus 25% of the excess over $46,250
Over $119,400 but not over $193,350 $24,617.50 plus 28% of the excess over $119,400
Over $193,350 but not over $379,150 $45,323.50 plus 33% of the excess over $193,350
Over $379,150 $106,637.50 plus 35% of the excess over $379,150
Standard deduction $8,500

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Unmarried individuals (other than surviving spouses and heads of households)

If Taxable Income Is: The Tax Is:
Not over $8,500 10% of the taxable income
Over $8,500 but not over $34,500 $850 plus 15% of the excess over $8,500
Over $34,500 but not over $83,600 $4,750 plus 25% of the excess over $34,500
Over $83,600 but not over $174,400 $17,025 plus 28% of the excess over $83,600
Over $174,400 but not over $379,150 $42,449 plus 33% of the excess over $174,400
Over $379,150 $110,016.50 plus 35% of the excess over $379,150
Standard deduction $5,800

Married individuals filing separate returns

If Taxable Income Is: The Tax Is:
Not over $8,500 10% of the taxable income
Over $8,500 but not over $34,500 $850 plus 15% of the excess over $8,500
Over $34,500 but not over $69,675 $4,750 plus 25% of the excess over $34,500
Over $69,675 but not over $106,150 $13,543.75 plus 28% of the excess over $69,675
Over $106,150 but not over $189,575 $23,756.75 plus 33% of the excess over $106,150
Over $189,575 $51,287 plus 35% of the excess over $189,575
Standard deduction $5,800

Updated November 5, 2012 and originally published January 4, 2011. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Steve

What are the standard deduction and exemption values this year?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Good question — I added the standard deduction to the above post. I’ll be working on a number of tax articles over the next few weeks outlining all of the changes this year.

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avatar Steve

Unrelated: Recently the font size on this site jumped (using firefox 3.6 or ie8) to something almost too large to read.

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avatar Kyle

Steve, did you accidentally change your Windows font settings? The site looks the same to me in both those browsers.

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avatar Steve

Not as far as I can tell. The only site that seems to be affected is this one. According to FireBug the font size (from class format_text) is 1.3em, which does seem a bit large for normal text.

avatar Noel Darvie

Are the tax rates for the dollar amounts listed in the above tables for the total gross income, or for the adjusted gross income?
Thanks

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

Great breakdown! I would love to see an article showing how to pick the correct amount of exemptions to choose for your family size, marriage status, etc.

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avatar PK

One of the best ways to determine your exemptions is to use the IRS withholding calculator.
http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96196,00.html
That link will probably eventually break

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

Thanks for the great link!

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avatar SteveDH

I checked the IRS Website and found the 2010 Instruction (PDF). Its numbers are different from your numbers, in that the Standard Deductions cited are: Single, $5,700, Married Filing Jointly, $11,400, and Head of Household $8,400. The Exemptions you claim get $3,650 per. I’ve always like the definition of matginal tax rate as what you pay on your next dollar of earnings.

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

You’ll need to check the 2011 instructions. I don’t know if they’ve been published on irs.gov yet.

Remember, this article is for income that is being earned this year and tax returns that will be filed early next year. 2010 tax brackets, used for the tax returns you’ll start filing in early 2011, are here.

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avatar PK

Other sites are reporting different 2011 standard deductions, ie. $11,600 for married joint returns

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avatar Steve

Married Filing Separately has a listed standard deduction of 5,800. The standard deduction for filing jointly should be no less than twice that amount.

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avatar SteveDH

Not true. The 2010 Instructions are for taxes in 2010, it even specifies that the taxes must be paid by April 18th 2011.

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avatar SteveDH

My bad – you’re way ahead here. I misread the fact that your looking ahead to 2012 tax filings – sorry

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Not a problem. I added some wording at the top to make it clear that I’m looking way ahead and added a link to the brackets people should be using when filing their taxes between now and April 2011.

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avatar tbork84 ♦1,867 (Half-Dollar)

Thanks for making the change. I misunderstood that the first time around as well.

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avatar Will @ HackingTheBank.com ♦258 (Nickel)

Agreed. So used to seeing 2010 tax information at this time. Just shows you how much I need to be forward-thinking about my taxes and actually plan instead of just waiting and figuring out what happened after the year is over.

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avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

I like to get a head start on my tax calculations…thanks for the info!

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avatar Joe

Is it just me or has the IRS revised the brackets for 2011? Publication 15 shows different income ranges than what’s listed here and every other website I’ve looked at. Refer to page 37, Table 7.

http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Those aren’t income tax tables, they’re employer withholding tables. You can verify the rates in the post above with the press release sent out by the IRS several months ago. The rates will be also listed in the instructions for the 2011 Form 1040 when it is released. But it ins’t too late for the government to change the tax tables for 2011.

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avatar Joe

Ahh understood. Thanks, Flexo. Could you direct me to the press release you’re referring to? I’m having a hard time locating it myself…

Reply to this comment

avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Unfortunately, the IRS doesn’t seem to have it available anymore. The 2011 Form 1040 should be released soon, though.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

Actually, I found the press release here and the details here.

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,386 (Platinum)

I haven’t been able to duplicate that from a variety of browsers. Maybe you need to clear your cache or cookies.

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avatar Steve

I did try that. Guess it’s a personal problem. Feel free to delete my ramblings from this post.

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