What are the Tax Brackets in the US?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
W-9 form, a type of tax form filed for freelance and contract employees.
W-9 form, a type of tax form filed for freelance and contract employees.

The tax brackets in the US are the graduating percentages of tax on the money you earn after all your exemptions have been taken. This is called your taxable income. Tax brackets in the US don’t include tax credits, which are reductions you may be entitled to, like child care, education, or certain income losses. Tax brackets in the US also account for whether you are filing jointly with a spouse, or whether you are filing taxes alone. It’s very important to note that the percentages are subject to change. For example, George W. Bush’s presidency, percentages were reduced, especially for those making greater amounts of income.

The Internal Revenue Service collects federal income tax in the US.
The Internal Revenue Service collects federal income tax in the US.

As of 2007, the following were the tax brackets in the US, which refer to income made, not standard deductions and exemptions. For the single person with no dependents, the first $7825 US Dollars (USD) is taxed at a rate of 10%. Money made between $7826 and $31,850 USD is taxed at 15%. The next bracket is money made between $31,851-$77,100 USD, which is taxed at a rate of 25%. You’ll pay 28% on amounts made between $77,101-$160,850 USD, 33% on amounts from $160,851-$349,700 USD, and 35% on amounts at or above $349,701 USD.

A W-2 wage and tax statement.
A W-2 wage and tax statement.

Because the tax brackets in the US are graduated, you can’t look at a single amount to determine your tax percentage, unless you make income within the first bracket. Say for example, you are single and have no dependents and you have $27,826 USD in taxable income. You will pay 10% on the first $7,826 USD ($782.60 USD in tax), and 15% on $20,000 USD ($3000 USD in tax). Your total tax before any tax credits is $3782.60 USD. The percentage of your income owed to the IRS is not 15%, but is about 13.6% because part of your money is taxed at the lower 10%.

When you are married and file jointly the tax brackets may change. Currently, the following rates apply to taxable income by married couples that file together:

  • 10% on income up to $15,650 USD
  • 15% on income between $15,651-63,700 USD
  • 25% on income between $63,701-128,500 USD
  • 28% on income between $128,501-195,850 USD
  • 33% on income between $195-851-349,700 USD
  • 35% on income at or above $349,701 USD

Always remember that these amounts are subject to change and the tax brackets in the US are not completely adequate in figuring the actual dollar amount you will pay in taxes. There are a number of tax credits that may offset total dollar amounts owed, and if you are taking care of any dependents you will be able to claim a higher amount of exemptions. This will reduce the amount of your income that is considered taxable.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

rjohnson

The confusing nature of this structure is why a flat tax is so appealing to some!

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    • W-9 form, a type of tax form filed for freelance and contract employees.
      W-9 form, a type of tax form filed for freelance and contract employees.
    • The Internal Revenue Service collects federal income tax in the US.
      The Internal Revenue Service collects federal income tax in the US.
    • A W-2 wage and tax statement.
      A W-2 wage and tax statement.