The new information includes estimated ranges for each 2016 tax bracket as well as projections for a growing number of inflation-sensitive tax figures, such as the personal exemption and the standard deduction. Projections are based on the relevant inflation data recently released by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Inflation Adjustments – Background
Since the late 1980s, the U.S. Tax Code has required that federal income tax brackets be adjusted for inflation annually, and inflation adjustments have been inserted into the Internal Revenue Code in recent years with increasing frequency. For example, the Code now requires over 50 other inflation-driven computations to determine deduction, exemption and exclusion amounts in addition to the 40 separate computations needed to inflation-adjust the tax bracket tables each year.
Key Tax Savings, Non-increase Estimates for 2016:
Projections based on the Department of Labor’s inflation figures for the 12-month period between August 31, 2014, and August 31, 2015 suggest most taxpayers will experience modest savings, compared to 2015 tax filings. For example:
Because of the income ranges bracketing the marginal tax rates have increased, a single filer with taxable income of $50,000 should owe $22.50 less next year due to the adjustments to the income tax rate brackets between 2015 and 2016.
A married couple filing jointly with a total taxable income of $100,000 should pay $45 less income taxes in 2016 than they will on the same income for 2015 because of indexing of their tax bracket for 2016.
The dependent standard deduction, used on the returns of individuals claimed as dependents on another taxpayer’s tax return, remains at $1,050 for 2016.
The additional standard deduction for those 65-years-old and older or who are blind will remain at $1,250 for 2016, as will the $1,550 additional amount for single aged 65 or older or blind filers.
Inflation-adjusted Tax Increase Estimates for 2016:
The personal exemption amount gets bumped up by inflation by $50, to $4,050 for 2016, up from $4,000 in 2015.
The standard deduction for single, married filing jointly, and married filing separately filers is expected to remain the same for 2016. The standard deduction for heads of household is expected to rise from $9,250 for 2015 to $9,300 for 2016. Any increase in the standard deduction, of course, can produce lower taxes by decreasing the taxpayer’s taxable income.