2015 Inflation Adjustments to Tax Benefits

The IRS recently announced annual inflation adjustments for more than 40 tax provisions, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes. Revenue Procedure 2014-61 provides details about these 2015 inflation adjustments. In this writing, I would like to highlight main 2015 inflation adjustments.

1. 2015 inflation adjustments for income tax brackets. The tax rate of 39.6 percent affects singles whose income exceeds $413,200 ($464,850 for married taxpayers filing a joint return), up from $406,750 and $457,600, respectively. The other marginal rates – 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent – and the related income tax thresholds are described in the revenue procedure.

2. 2015 inflation adjustments for Standard Deduction. The standard deduction rises to $6,300 for singles and married persons filing separate returns and $12,600 for married couples filing jointly, up from $6,200 and $12,400, respectively, for tax year 2014. The standard deduction for heads of household rises to $9,250, up from $9,100.

3. 2015 inflation adjustments for Itemized Deduction Limitation. The limitation for itemized deductions to be claimed on tax year 2015 returns of individuals begins with incomes of $258,250 or more ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly).

4. 2015 inflation adjustments for Personal Exemption Amounts. The personal exemption for tax year 2015 rises to $4,000, up from the 2014 exemption of $3,950. However, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $258,250 ($309,900 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $380,750 ($432,400 for married couples filing jointly.)

5. 2015 inflation adjustments for Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): AMT exemption amount for tax year 2015 is $53,600 ($83,400, for married couples filing jointly). The 2014 exemption amount was $52,800 ($82,100 for married couples filing jointly).

6. 2015 inflation adjustments for Earned Income Credit (EIC) amount. The maximum EIC amount is $6,242 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $6,143 for tax year 2014. The revenue procedure has a table providing maximum credit amounts for other categories, income thresholds and phaseouts.

7. 2015 inflation adjustments for Estate Basic Exclusion Amounts. Estates of decedents who die during 2015 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,430,000, up from a total of $5,340,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2014.

8. 2015 inflation adjustments for Foreign Spouse Gifts. The exclusion from tax on a gift to a spouse who is not a U.S. citizen is $147,000, up from $145,000 for 2014.

9. 2015 inflation adjustments for Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE). The 2015 FEIE breaks the six-figure mark, rising to $100,800, up from $99,200 for 2014.

10. 2015 inflation adjustments for Annual Gift Exclusion Amount. The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $14,000 for 2015.

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