Determining Which Federal Tax Schedule You Fall Under

'Federal tax schedule' is a term that can refer to two concepts - the federal tax table and one of the 1040 tax schedules. The federal tax table is the table that indicates what tax bracket you fall under. 1040 tax schedule is one of the 11 attachments that you must use to report certain types of income. Both of those concepts play an important role in determining how you are taxed. This is why it is important for you to understand how they apply to you.

Understanding the Federal Tax Table

The federal tax table is a chart that helps you determine how much you have to pay in taxes. It is made up of six lines, or brackets. Each bracket contains a certain range of income. That range of income is used to determine your tax rate. The federal tax table is adjusted every year based on the economic conditions or changes in federal law.

The tax rate is made up of two parts - a fixed sum and a percentage of the taxpayer's income. The fixed sum depends on the taxpayer's filing status. In other words, it depends on whether you are filing as single person, married and filing jointly with your spouse, married and filing separately from your spouse or filing as head of household.

The percentage represents the portion of your income that you have to pay in addition to the fixed sum. Because each taxpayer has a different income, that number will be unique to each taxpayer. The more income the taxpayer has, the bigger the percentage becomes. For example, under the 2009 federal tax table, if you earn up to $8,350, your tax will equal ten percent of your income, but if you earn between $8,350-$33,950, your tax will equal to 15 percent of your income. However, it is important to keep in mind that the largest tax bracket - the 35 percent tax bracket - has no upper limit. Under 2009 tax table, if you earn more than than $372,951, you will pay 35 percent of your income no matter how much your income increases.

Understanding 1040 Tax Schedules

1040 Tax Schedules are essentially extensions of tax form 1040. The include details that don't fit on form 1040 itself. If you want to claim any deduction, other than the standard deduction, fill out Schedule A. You will need to fill out one of the other 1040 tax schedule if get your income from any of the following sources:

  • Interest and dividend payments
  • Self-employment 
  • Capital gains 
  • Rent and royalties
  • Farmer work
  • Household help taxes
  • Income Tax Credits

Each category will have specific schedules that must be added to the 1040 returns. For example, if you receive rent or royalties, you must file a schedule E.  The schedules specifically document where and when the income was earned.

It is also possible to file deductions or credits. Again, the IRS requires detailed information about each credit and requires additional schedules to be filed.