Tax Benefits Increase for 2012

Even in the face of severe federal & state deficits, many tax benefits are due to raise for tax year 2012 (calendar year 2013).  By law, tax provisions are required to keep pace with inflation.  The new dollar amounts affecting most taxpayers are:

Individual Deductions and Credits

  • Personal and dependent exemptions are $3,800, up $100 from 2011
  • The new standard deduction is $11,900 for married couples filing a joint return, up $300
    • $5,950 for singles and married individuals filing separately, up $150
    • $8,700 for heads of household, up $200
  • Tax-bracket thresholds increase for each filing status. For a married couple filing a joint return, for example, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15-percent bracket from the 25-percent bracket is $70,700, up from $69,000 in 2011.

Credits, Deductions & Related Phase Outs 

  • The maximum earned income tax credit (EITC) for low- and moderate- income workers and working families rises to $5,891, up from $5,751 in 2011.
  • The maximum income limit for the EITC rises to $50,270, up from $49,078
  • The foreign earned income deduction rises to $95,100, up from $97,300–an increase of $2,200.
  • The modified adjusted gross income threshold at which the lifetime learning credit begins to phase out is $104,000 for joint filers, up from $102,000
    • $52,000 for singles and heads of household, up from $51,000
  • Annual deductible amounts for Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs) increased from the tax year 2011 amounts; please see the table below.

Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)

Self-only coverage

Family coverage

Minimum annual deductible



Maximum annual deductible



Maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses



  • The $2,500 maximum deduction for interest paid on student loans begins to phase out for a married taxpayers filing a joint returns at $125,000 and phases out completely at $155,000, an increase of $5,000 from the phase out limits for tax year 2011. For single taxpayers, the phase out ranges remain at the 2011 levels

Estate & Gift 

  • For an estate of any decedent dying during calendar year 2012, the basic exclusion from estate tax amount is $5,120,000, up from $5,000,000 for calendar year 2011. Also, if the executor chooses to use the special use valuation method for qualified real property, the aggregate decrease in the value of the property resulting from the choice cannot exceed $1,040,000, up from $1,020,000 for 2011.
  • The annual exclusion for gifts remains at $13,000.


  • The monthly limit on the value of qualified transportation benefits exclusion for qualified parking provided by an employer to its employees for 2012 rises to $240, up $10 from the limit in 2011. However, the temporary increase in the monthly limit on the value of the qualified transportation benefits exclusion for transportation in a commuter highway vehicle and transit pass provided by an employer to its employees expires and reverts to $125 for 2012.
  • Several tax benefits are unchanged in 2012. For example, the additional standard deduction for blind people and senior citizens remains $1,150 for married individuals and $1,450 for singles and heads of household
If you would like more information on inflation adjustments and it can affect your tax status, contact an R&G Brenner representative today for assistance.