How to calculate taxable income
To calculate taxable income, subtract all deductions and allowance for exemptions from the
adjusted gross income
Taxable income = adjusted income − (deductions + allowance for exemptions)
With deductions, you can
itemize deductions or use the
standard deduction
In
2009, the standard deduction is
11,400 USD for married couple filling a joint return
8350 for heads of household
5700 for singles and married individuals filling separately
If you itemize deductions, you can deduct taxes paid, mortgage interest, educational expenses, medical expenses, contributions, and other expenses that exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.
A 3650 USD
exemption was allowed for each dependent in
2009. This can always change. Hopefully, when it changes, it goes higher because it will reduce your taxable income even more
We now illustrate with real life examples
Example #1:
In 2009, Mike's adjusted gross income is 37,000 USD. Mike is married and has three kids.
What is Mike's taxable income if he is filling a joint return and chooses to take the standard deduction?
Taxable income = 37,000 − (11,400 + 3650 × 3)
Taxable income = 37,000 − (11,400 + 10950)
Taxable income = 37,000 − 22350
Taxable income = 14650
Example #2:
In 2009, Sylvia's adjusted gross income is 50,000 USD.
If Sylvia has 4 kids and decides to itemize the following items, calculate taxable income?
Taxes paid: 5000
Mortgage interest: 7000
Educational expenses: 4000
Medical expenses: 2000
Charitable contributions: 500
Expenses that exceed 2% of her adjusted gross income: 6000
Total deductions = 5000 + 7000 + 4000 + 2000 + 500 + 6000 = 24,500
Since Sylvia has 4 kids, her exemption is 3650 × 4 = 14,600
Taxable income = 50,000 − (24,500 + 14,600)
Taxable income = 50,000 − 39,100
Taxable income = 10,900
Notice that Sylvia's taxable income could have been a lot higher if she has taken the standard deduction of 11,400
It would be 50,000 − (11,400 + 14,600) = 50,000 − 26000 = 24,000
She will end up paying more taxes

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