Tax Brackets and Tables for 2008
Sunday September 21, 2008 2:37 am ET
Q: I already have my 2008 federal taxes figured out except for one thing: I need the tax brackets and tables. When and where will those be available?
A: I salute you for getting an early start on your taxes. There still are a few other questions about this year's tax system that haven't yet been resolved. But Congress is moving closer to passing legislation to answer them.
The IRS has posted on its Web site (irs.gov ) the 2008 income brackets, the personal exemption amount and other items adjusted for inflation each year. In the search box in the upper right-hand corner, type "Revenue Procedure 2007-66." The IRS also has posted a draft of the 2008 instructions for Form 1040, including tax tables, at www.irs.gov/pub/irs-dft/ i1040gi--dft.pdf. (Note the double hyphen in that Web address.)
The basic standard deduction for 2008 is $10,900 for married couples filing joint returns. It's $5,450 for singles and married couples filing separately. The maximum personal exemption amount is $3,500.
Now for the question marks: Congress still hasn't acted to
protect millions of people from getting ensnared by the alternative minimum tax for this year. If Congress does nothing, about 26 million people will be hit by the AMT, up from about four million for 2007, according to Treasury Department estimates.
Senate leaders recently agreed on a legislative package that includes a stopgap measure, known as an "AMT patch," to curb the AMT's growth. Senators also agreed to resurrect some popular tax breaks that expired at the end of last year. Among them is the option of deducting state and local sales taxes instead of state and local income taxes.
Separately, the Labor Department released new inflation data that enabled private-sector analysts to calculate the standard deduction and many other tax-related numbers on returns for 2009 (to be filed in 2010). They project the basic standard deduction for 2009 will rise to $11,400 for married couples filing jointly and to $5,700 for singles and married people filing separately. The official IRS numbers won't be released until later this year.
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