Inflation in 2015 has been negligible. That means the tax provisions that are adjusted each year to account for inflation aren’t changing that much.
But in the tax world, every little bit helps. And the 2016 inflation adjustments just announced by the IRS mean that most taxpayers will see some changes.
Tax bracket tweaks
The 7 existing tax brackets are the same in 2016, but the amount of money that falls into each will change a bit in 2016. And those inflation increases mean that you can earn a little more in each bracket and stay at the same tax rate.
Tax bracket amounts for 2016
|Tax rate||Single filers||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower||Married filing separately||Head of household|
|Tax rate: 10%||Single filers: Up to $9,275||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: Up to $18,550||Married filing separately: Up to $9,275||Head of household: Up to $13,250|
|Tax rate: 15%||Single filers: $9,276 to $37,650||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $18,551 to $75,300||Married filing separately: $9,276 to $37,650||Head of household: $13,251 to $50,400|
|Tax rate: 25%||Single filers: $37,651 to $91,150||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $75,301 to $151,900||Married filing separately: $37,651 to $75,950||Head of household: $50,401 to $130,150|
|Tax rate: 28%||Single filers: $91,151 to $190,150||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $151,901 to $231,450||Married filing separately: $75,951 to $115,725||Head of household: $130,151 to $210,800|
|Tax rate: 33%||Single filers: $190,151 to $413,350||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $231,451 to $413,350||Married filing separately: $115,726 to $206,675||Head of household: $210,801 to $413,350|
|Tax rate: 35%||Single filers: $413,351 to $415,050||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $413,351 to $466,950||Married filing separately: $206,676 to $233,475||Head of household: $413,351 to $441,000|
|Tax rate: 39.6%||Single filers: $415,051 or more||Married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower: $466,951 or more||Married filing separately: $233,476 or more||Head of household: $441,001 or more|
The good exemption news is that every taxpayer gets to claim a specific dollar amount, along with the same amount for all dependents, to help reduce their adjusted gross income. In 2016, the exemption amount goes up $50 to $4,050.
Note, however, wealthier taxpayers could lose the value of exemptions. It starts phasing out at $259,400 for single taxpayers and $311,300 for married couples filing jointly. It disappears totally when a single filer’s income hits $381,900 or $433,800 for married couples filing jointly.
More to deduct
If you claim the standard deduction, and most taxpayers do, you’ll be able to reduce your adjusted gross income a bit more on your 2016 taxes.
The standard deduction is based on your tax-filing status. For single taxpayers and couples who file separate returns, it’s $6,300. Married jointly filing couples get double that: $12,600. Head of household taxpayers can claim a $9,300 standard deduction amount in 2016.
Don’t confuse 2015, 2016 figures
Remember, these amounts affect 2016 taxes that you’ll file in 2017. Inflation adjustments for 2015 were issued by the IRS back in November 2014.
But the 2016 numbers are good to have handy as you plan your strategies to keep next year’s tax bill as low as possible.