What Is the IRS Ceiling for Taxable Income?

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Income is earned in the form of a paycheck, investment income and a variety of other methods. A specific amount of earned income is defined as taxable income. The ceiling for taxable income depends on how your taxes are filed and your tax bracket. The following ceilings are for the 2011 tax year.

Filing As Single

When you file as single, the tax ceiling for the 10 percent tax bracket is $8,500. After that, the tax ceiling for the 15 percent tax bracket is $34,500 and for the 25 percent tax bracket is $83,600. The upper tax brackets have higher ceilings. For people in the 28 percent tax bracket, the taxable income ceiling is $174,400. The ceiling for the 33 percent tax bracket is $379,150. After the 33 percent tax ceiling, taxable income is taxed at 35 percent, and the ceiling is unlimited.

Married and Filing Seperately

One reason to file separate tax returns when married is to keep tax liabilities separate, which can be beneficial if one partner owes money, is self-employed or has other tax liabilities. The taxable income ceilings for each tax bracket are lower in this scenario.

The tax ceiling for the 10 percent tax bracket is $8,500. After that, the tax ceiling for the 15 percent tax bracket is $34,500 and for the 25 percent tax bracket is $69,675. The disadvantage comes in the upper tax brackets. For people in the 28 percent tax bracket, the taxable income ceiling is $106,150. The ceiling for the 33 percent tax bracket is $189,575, and after that amount income is taxed at 35 percent, and there is no ceiling.

Married and Filing Jointly

For a married couple, the advantages of joint filing include the ease with which dependents can be claimed and the fact that exemption limits are increased. The main concern in this situation is that both parties share any tax liabilities.

The tax ceiling for the 10 percent tax bracket is $17,000. The tax ceiling for the 15 percent tax bracket is $69,000 and for the 25 percent tax bracket is $139,350. The upper tax brackets have higher exemption limits in this case as well. The 28 percent tax bracket has a taxable income ceiling of $212,300. In the 33 percent tax bracket the ceiling stays at $379,150, and after that income is taxed at 35 percent with no ceiling.

Filing As Head of Household

To file as a head of household, you must be unmarried, have a dependent who qualifies, such as a child, and have paid more than half of the costs associated with house upkeep, all during the tax year.

The taxable income ceiling for the 10 percent tax bracket is $12,150. For the 15 percent tax bracket the ceiling is $46,250, and for the 25 percent tax bracket it is $119,400. In the higher tax brackets the income ceilings begin to level out. For head of household in the 28 percent tax bracket the taxable income ceiling is $193,350. The ceilings for the 33 percent tax bracket and the 35 percent tax bracket are the same as any other filing.