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2021-2022 Tax Brackets: What Tax Bracket Am I In?

Andrew Dehan7-minute read
April 28, 2022

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As we settle into 2022, it’s time to deal with last year’s individual income taxes. Getting your taxes done is critical. The typical individual income tax filing deadline is April 15, though that can be extended if April 15 falls on a weekend. Barring any unforeseen national circumstances, you will need to file your taxes by then.

Before you can get started, you'll want to understand the 2021 tax brackets, where your income falls and how these brackets work. There are currently seven federal tax brackets that determine how much you pay in federal income tax.

If you aren’t sure where you stand, it can be confusing to work on your taxes. We’ll cover what the tax brackets are, how to determine which bracket you fall into and explain what this means for your income taxes.

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2021 Income Tax Brackets (Filing Deadline April 2022)

For the 2021 federal tax brackets that correspond to the tax return due April 2022 (or October 2022 if you file a 6-month extension), your bracket will depend on your filing status. If you are wondering which tax bracket you’re in, use this chart to find your federal tax bracket based on income and filing status.

Tax Rate

Single

Married Filing Jointly

Married Filing Separately

Head of Household

10%

$0 – $9,950

$0 – $19,900

$0 – $9,950

$0 – $14,200

12%

$9,951 – $40,525

$19,901 – $81,050

$9,951 – $40,525

$14,201 – $54,200

22%

$40,526 – $86,375

$81,051 – $172,750

$40,526 – $86,375

$54,201 – $86,350

24%

$86,376 to $164,925

$172,751 to $329,850

$86,376 – $164,925

$86,351 – $164,900

32%

$164,926 – $209,425

$329,851 – $418,850

$164,926 – $209,425

$164,901 – $209,400

35%

$209,426 – $523,600

$418,851 – $628,300

$209,426 – $314,150

$209,401 – $523,600

37%

$523,601 and higher

$628,301 and higher

$314,151 and higher

$523,601 and higher

2022 Income Tax Brackets (Filing Deadline April 2023)

If you're looking to plan ahead, you can also consider the 2022 tax brackets which have already been released by the IRS. While the tax laws can change at any time, as of now the tax brackets remain the same as the 2021 income tax brackets. The only change is that the cutoff amounts have been indexed for inflation. This chart shows the federal tax brackets for the tax return due April 2023, for tax year 2022.

Tax Rate

Single

Married Filing Jointly

Married Filing Separately

Head of Household

10%

$0 – $10,275

$0 – $20,550

$0 – $10,275

$0 – $14,650

12%

$10,276 – $41,775

$20,551 – $83,550

$10,276 – $41,775

$14,651 – $55,900

22%

$41,776 – $89,075

$83,551 – $178,150

$41,776 – $89,075

$55,901 – $89,050

24%

$89,076 – $170,050

$178,151 – $340,100

$89,076 – $170,050

$89,051 – $170,050

32%

$170,051 – $215,950

$340,101 – $431,900

$170,051 – $215,950

$170,051 – $215,950

35%

$215,951 – $539,900

$431,901 – $647,850

$215,951 – $323,925

$215,951 – $539,900

37%

$539,901 and higher

$647,851 and higher

$323,926 and higher

$539,901 and higher

What Are Tax Brackets?

In the United States, the tax code is based on a progressive system. Different portions of your income are taxed at various rates. As you earn more income, parts of your higher earned income will be taxed at a higher rate. This leads to people who earn a higher income paying more in taxes. However, every taxpayer pays equal taxes on each portion of their taxable income.

Currently, there are seven federal tax brackets that have tax rates of 10, 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37%. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 did make some reductions to income tax rates that effectively lower the amount individuals will pay in taxes. Prior to this legislation, the 2018 tax brackets were slightly higher at 10, 15, 25, 28, 33, 35 and 39.6%.

Your income will fall into federal tax brackets that are based on two factors: your taxable income and your filing status. The taxable income part is easy to determine. This is the money that you have earned minus any tax cuts or deductions.

The second piece of the puzzle is your filing status. There are four different filing statuses that you can choose, according to the IRS: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately and head of household. You can determine your status of married or single based on the last day of the tax year.

For example, if you got married on December 31, 2021, you would be able to file as married for tax purposes. However, if you got married on January 1, 2022, you cannot file with a married status when you turn in your 2021 income taxes in April 2022.

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How Do Tax Brackets Work?

Once you determine your tax bracket, you can find out how much you owe the IRS. As you work through your taxes, it’s important to remember that your taxable income will likely be taxed at several different rates.

Example #1: If you’re single and you earned $35,000 worth of taxable income, that would put you in the 12% federal income tax bracket. However, that doesn’t mean that you’ll pay 12% in taxes for all your income.

You would pay 10% on your income up to $9,950. That’s $995.00. Next, you would pay 12% on the remaining $25,050 of your income, which is $3,006. Without considering any deductions, credits or other taxes and fees, this puts your total federal income tax at $4,001.00. If you paid a straight 12% on all of your income, you’d pay around $200 more. Your effective tax rate is 11.4%, which is your total tax of $4,001 divided by your taxable income of $35,000.

Example #2: If you file single with an income of $70,000, you are in the 22% tax bracket. Again, you would not pay 22% on your entire taxable income. Instead, you would pay 10% on your income up to $9,950, 12% on income between $9,951 – $40,525 and 22% on the remaining income of $29,475.

Again, without considering deductions, credits or other taxes and fees, this puts your total federal income tax for the year at $11,148.38, and your effective tax rate would be 15.9%. If you were to pay a straight 22% on $70,000, you’d be paying $15,400, or over $4,000 more. As you can see, the differences get bigger as your income goes up.

What Is The Marginal Tax Rate?

Your marginal tax rate is the tax rate that you will pay on any additional income that you would make. While your marginal tax rate is not the same as your effective tax rate, it can be helpful to understand as you make income and deduction choices at the end of the year. For most taxpayers in the United States, your marginal tax rate will be the same as the tax bracket that your income and filing status puts you in.

One way to think of it is that if your marginal tax rate is 22%, that means that for every additional $1 that you earn, you will pay 22 cents in taxes. In addition, for every $1 in deductions to your taxable income, you will save 22 cents in federal income tax.

How To Get Into A Lower Tax Bracket

Now that you know which tax bracket you fall into, you might be worried about your tax bill. It’s possible to move into a lower tax bracket using two different tax strategies. If you’re able to move into a lower tax bracket, you may save hundreds of dollars on your yearly tax bill.

If you’re interested in pursuing one of these options, consider talking to a tax professional. They will be able to dive into more details and determine whether one of these options is a good fit for your situation.

Tax Deductions

If you qualify for any tax deductions, it makes sense to include these in your tax calculations.

The standard deduction is what anyone can take if they do not want to itemize, or list out, all of their deductions. Most people choose to take the standard deduction, which we cover below.

The standard deduction for 2021 is:

  • $12,550 for single filers and married filers filing separately
  • $25,100 for married people filing joint
  • $18,800 for any heads of household

It may make sense to take the standard deduction. But if you have tax deductions that will surpass the standard deduction, it’s worth the effort. You may even be able to lower your income to qualify for a lower tax bracket.

A few examples of tax deductions that you might want to itemize include:

If you have more itemizable deductions than the standard deduction, it makes sense to itemize your deductions. If not, then you can take the standard deduction and not worry about itemizing your deductions. A tax professional can help you assess your situation to see what makes the most sense for you.

Tax Credits

Tax credits are a second way to lower your total tax bill if you qualify for one. In this case, you would not reduce your total taxable income or affect your tax bracket but you can use these credits to offset any taxes that you owe.

For example, if you owed $10,000 in taxes but qualified for a $3,000 tax credit then you would only be responsible for paying $7,000 of your tax bill.

There are many different types of tax credits. A few common ones include:

  • Child tax credit
  • Earned income tax credit
  • Child and dependent care tax credit
  • Saver’s credit aka retirement contribution savings credit
  • Lifetime learning tax credit

This is not an exhaustive list. Again, a tax professional can help you determine what tax credits you may qualify for.

The Bottom Line

The United States has a progressive income tax system, where you are divided into tax brackets depending on your taxable income and filing status. Knowing what tax bracket you are in can help you understand your marginal tax rate and how much you'll pay in income taxes.

Keep in mind that your effective tax rate will generally be lower than your tax bracket and represents the actual percentage of your income that you pay in taxes. If you're still interested, you can learn more about how to file your tax returns for the upcoming tax season.

Rocket Mortgage® And TurboTax®

Getting your max refund has never been easier with TurboTax®.

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Andrew Dehan

Andrew Dehan is a professional writer who writes about real estate and homeownership. He is also a published poet, musician and nature-lover. He lives in metro Detroit with his wife, daughter and dogs.