NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- In the middle of January, it's too cold to have much fun across most of the U.S., so you may as well shrug your shoulders and dig into your 2013 tax returns.
This year, that means knowing some key changes in the Internal Revenue Service tax codes. Straight from the IRS, here are some of the most important changes for Main Street Americans this tax season:
Tax brackets: The so-called "Bush tax cuts" are off the board, and taxpayers are looking at seven new tax brackets -- at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.
Standard deductions: Standard filing deductions rose to $12,200 for taxpayers married filing jointly; $8,950 for taxpayers filing as head of household; and $6,100 for single taxpayers.
New exemption levels: Congress has hiked the personal exemption amount to $3,900.
Estate taxes: There's now an estate tax rate at 40%, along with an estate tax exemption of $5.25 million.
Contributions to 401(k) plans: Workers can contribute up to $17,500 to their 401(k) plans.
IRA plans: Americans saving for retirement can contribute $5,500 to their individual retirement plans, or $6,500 for Americans age 50 and over.
Mileage deductions: According to the IRS, mileage rates for business and medical rose to $0.565 and $0.24 respectively. Note the mileage rate for charity mileage still stands at $0.14.
While it's important to know and leverage these changes to the tax code, your tax planning shouldn't end there. There are many moves you can make to lower your tax burden, keeping more money in your pocket and giving less to Uncle Sam come April 15.