Low Inflation Affects Cost of Living Adjustments in 2010
Taxpayers will not get much of a tax break next year from inflation because there is so little of it right now.
Since the 1980s, many items in the federal tax code have been indexed for inflation each year. More than 50 deductions, exemptions or exclusion amounts are adjusted, plus 40 tax-bracket measures. Indexing helps keep personal income in the same bracket year to year. Without it many people would gradually find themselves taxed at higher rates, reflecting normal wage hikes pushing them into new brackets. The tax law provides for cost-of-living adjustments based on changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI recorded a decline over the last four quarters ending September 30, 2009.
In addition to other adjustements based on COLA, the IRS requires that the Commissioner annually adjust qualified retirement plan dollar limitations on benefits and contributions for cost-of-living increases.
Most of these limits will remain unchanged for 2010.
Here are some notable changes and items that will remain the same in 2010:
INCOME TAX BRACKETS
Changes will be minimal. Married filers in 2010 will stay in the 15% bracket with income up to $68,000 (compared with $67,900 in 2009), the 25% bracket up to $137,300 (versus $137,050) and the 28% bracket up to the $209,250 (compared to 208,850). Singles will stay in the 15% bracket with income up to $34,000 (versus $33,950).
The amount will stay at $11,400 in 2010 for married filers and at $5,700 for singles. Head of household will see a $50 rise to $8,400.
This will stay at $3,650 in 2010.
The limit for an individual making contributions to IRAs remains at $5,000 plus $1,000 if age 50 or older.
The phase out limit for determining the deductible amount of an IRA contribution for taxpayers who are active participants filing a joint return as as qualifying widow(er) remains unchanged at $89,000. For a taxpayer who is NOT an active participant but whose spouse is an active participant, the limit is increased from $166,000 to $167,000.