Tax Policy Center

The calculator is a tool to help you understand how current tax policy affects real families and what would happen if we changed that policy. With this version, you can compare three alternative tax policies to see how different taxpayers would make out in 2013:

  • ATRA tax law that will apply in 2013 following enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012
  • 2012 Law with AMT Patch with all of the 2001-2003 tax cuts and the 2009 stimulus tax provisions still in place
  • Pre-ATRA 2013 law (the "fiscal cliff") including the expiration of most tax cuts enacted between 2001 and 2010, the new taxes associated with the 2010 healthcare legislation, and no AMT patch or payroll tax cut

Note: the Tax Calculator estimates the impact of proposed tax policies on typical taxpayers. It is not a tax preparation tool.
For ease of use, many items that would be included on actual tax returns are omitted. Numbers generated by the Tax Calculator cannot be applied to specific tax returns.

How to Use the Calculator

  1. Sample Taxpayers.  The easiest way to see the effects of tax policy changes is to select and compare our sample taxpayers (below). Default income values represent income and expenses for taxpayers at the 20th, 50th, 80th, 99th, and 99.9th percentiles. You can modify those income and expense variables but basic demographics are fixed.
  2. Create Your Own Example.  To examine a different family composition, create a customized analysis by submitting answers to questions about a hypothetical taxpayer's personal status, income, and deductions.  
  3. Need help? Click on a variable for more information on each term within the calculator.


Each of the sample taxpayers we created is intended to be representative of families and individuals in specific income and demographic groups. You can use our examples, or make your own changes to their income and expenses.

happy married couple

under age 65
No children

happy couple with son

one child
in college

happy couple two kids

two children
under age 13

happy single


happy mom two kids

Head of Household,
two children
under age 13

happy senior couple

age 65
and over


Create Your Own Example

blank slate


Comments? Problems?
E-mail us here.

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