The reason for my FM! melancholy is that my son turned 17 in February of 2023, so he’s no longer eligible for the child-tax credit. Don’t take this the wrong way because I love my son dearly, but the little $hit is going to cost me some money in 2023. (It’s okay son; I still love you.)
What Exactly Is Free Money! ?
My “Free Money!” posts are a yearly attempt to provide my readers with some basic tax-planning information, the amount of income they can earn before they owe any federal income tax. My calculations are pretty basic and consist of two components: 1.) the standard deduction and 2.) the child-tax credit. Explained another way, “Free Money!” represents the amount of income you can earn at a 0% tax rate. (Remember, that’s your federal income tax rate, not your state or FICA tax rate.)
Before we get too deep into this post, you should know…
Newsflash: I’m Still No Tax Expert
Okay readers, it’s time for me to cover my derriere. First, this post is intended to provide you with a basic income-tax estimate for 2023; please do not consider this personalized tax advice. Second, as I say every year, I am NOT a CPA, accountant, or tax preparer. I’m a “retired” high school teacher and basketball coach who is simply trying to keep his tax obligation in check. Be wise and read this post with a critical eye.
Here’s are my FM! amounts for 2023:
Free Money! Comparison: 2023 vs. 2022
MFJ Standard Deduction
1 Child-Tax Credit
Total Free Money Amounts
A 2023 Free Money! Decrease of $18,200...YIKES!
As you can see, our only FM! comes from the standard deduction of $27,700. Overall, our FM! amount will decrease by $18,200. Gulp!
Because we’ll need more than $27k to live on in 2023, we next have to decide how much we’re willing to pay in federal income taxes. (Yes, we get to choose the amount!)
Here are our 2023 income options based on federal income taxes of $1k, $2k, and $3k:
2023 Income with Tax Bill of $1k, $2k, & $3k
$1k Tax Bill
$2k Tax Bill
$3k Tax Bill
2023 Free Money!
Additional Income @ 10%
Remaining 10% Money
- Tax Owed
Total After-tax Income
Effective Tax Rate
Remember, YOU Decide How Much You'll Pay in Taxes!
Take a look at those effective tax rates ranging from 2.7% to almost 5.5%. Those rates almost look to good to be true, but those numbers are correct. Not bad at all!
Nota Bene: Because the 10% tax bracket for MFJ is $22,000, the calculations are pretty easy. For the $1k example, a tax bill of $1,000 results in $10,000 of additional income ($1,000/.10%). For the $2k example, a tax bill of $2,000 results in $20,000 of additional income ($2,000/.10%). Finally, the tax bill of $3k yields an additional $28,867 of income ($2,200/.10%) + ($800/.12%).
(If you’re confused by this sexy tax math, don’t feel bad because these numbers don’t come naturally to me either! Full disclosure: I had to take accounting 3 times to finally earn a B in the course. Oh the irony that I’m writing about taxes!)
Here’s what our 2023 income options look like after taxes:
2023 Income Options After Taxes
Tax Bill of $0 ($27,700)
Tax Bill of $1k ($36,700)
Tax Bill of $2k ($45,700)
Tax Bill of $3k ($53,367)
More Than $2.3k a Month No Matter How You Slice It!
That’s a look at our tax planning for 2023. Sure, we’ll be on the hook to pay more in taxes this year, but at least we now have a tax plan. As you probably already know, nothing is worse than big tax surprises on April 15th.
As always, I have included tax tables to help my awesome readers as they do their own tax planning; see below.
Finally, thanks to all those who prodded me to finish this blog post. It’s no secret that my blogging mojo is waning, but this is the one post that people expect from me…every year!
Yours in Bridled Tax Enthusiasm,
Useful Resources: Companies and Services that We Actually Use (Lots of affiliate links here!)