The bright spot of the dreary 2009 economy: savings for everyone.
Top earners usually pay for their fat paychecks in reduced exemptions and deductions. But if you're among those bringing home big bacon, you'll be glad to hear that, for you, the 2009 tax code is kinder and gentler. Two ways you'll benefit:
You'll get credit for your kids: This year anyone who doesn't fall into the AMT zone will get some personal exemption for claiming their children as dependents. In previous years that exemption -- $3,650 for 2009 -- phased out at higher income levels. This year it phases down to $2,433, but not out.
Potential savings: $852 per kid, assuming you're in the 35% tax bracket
You get more from itemizing: Typically, high-income-tax filers have to reduce their itemized deductions by 3% of the amount their AGI exceeds a certain threshold ($166,800 for single and joint filers in 2009). But for 2009 that reduction comes down to 1%.
Potential savings: $142 for the average itemizer in the 28% bracket.
Last updated March 26 2010: 7:15 PM ET
Savings assumed a couple filing jointly in the 28% bracket, unless otherwise noted.