With 2021 behind us, it’s time to begin focusing on the tax changes for 2022. The changes are minor, but it pays to be ready ahead of time.

A tax bracket is a range of income the government taxes at a certain rate. The United States has a progressive tax system, which means taxpayers pay a certain percentage rate of their taxable income.

The higher your income is, the more you’ll pay.

2022 Income Tax Brackets

RATESINGLE MARRIED (JOINTLY)HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
10%Up to $10,275Up to $20,550Up to $14,650
12%Over $10,275 up to $41,775Over $20,550 up to $83,550 Over $14,650 up to $55,900
22%Over $41,775 up to $89,075Over $83,550 up to $178,150Over $55,900 up to $89,050
24%Over $89,075 to $170,050Over $178,150 up to $340,100Over $89,050 up to $170,050
32%Over $170,050 up to $215,950Over $340,100 up to $431,900 Over $170,050 up to $215,950
35%Over $215,950 up to $539,900Over $431,900 up to $647,850Over $215,950 up to $539,900
37%Over $539,900Over $647,850 Over $539,900

2021 Income Tax Brackets

RATESINGLE MARRIED (JOINTLY)HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
10%Up to $9,950Up to $19,900 Up to $14,200
12%Over $9,950 up to $40,525Over $19,900 up to $81,050 Over $14,200 up to $54,200
22%Over $40,525 up to $86,375Over $81,050 up to $172,750 Over $54,200 up to $86,350
24%Over $86,375 to $164,925 Over $172,750 up to $329,850 Over $86,350 up to $164,900
32%Over $164,925 up to $209,425 Over $329,850 up to $418,850 Over $164,900 up to $209,400
35%Over $209,425 up to $523,600 Over $418,8510 up to $628,300 Over $209,400 up to $523,600
37%Over $523,600 Over $628,300 Over $523,600

2020 Income Tax Brackets

RATESINGLEMARRIED (JOINTLY)HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
10%Up to $9,875Up to $19,750Up to $14,100
12%Over $9,875 up to $40,125Over $19,750 up to $80,25Over $14,100 up to $53,700
22%Over $40,125 up to $85,525Over $80,250 up to $171,050Over $53,700 up to $85,500
24%Over $85,525 up to $163,300Over $171,050 up to $326,600Over $85,500 up to $163,300
32%Over $163,300 up to $207,350Over $326,600 up to $414,700Over $163,300 up to $207,350
35%Over $207,350 up to $518,400Over $414,700 up to $622,050Over $207,350 up to $518,400
37%Over $518,400Over $622,050Over $518,400

2019 Income Tax Brackets

RATESINGLEMARRIED (JOINTLY)HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
10%Up to $9,700Up to $19,400Up to $13,850
12%Over $9,700 up to $39,475Over $19,400 up to $78,950Over $13,850 up to $52,850
22%Over $39,475 up to $84,200Over $78,950 up to $168,400Over $52,850 up to $84,200
24%Over $84,200 up to $160,725Over $168,400 up to $321,450Over $84,200 up to $160,700
32%Over $160,725 up to $204,100Over $321,450 up to $408,200Over $160,700 up to $204,100
35%Over $204,100 up to $510,300Over $408,200 up to $612,350Over $204,100 up to $510,300
37%Over $510,300Over $612,350Over $510,300

2018 Income Tax Brackets

RATESINGLEMARRIED (JOINT)HEAD OF HOUSEHOLD
10%Up to $9,525Up to $19,050Up to $13,600
12%Over $9,525 up to $38,700Over $77,400 up to $77,400Over $13,600 up to $51,800
22%Over $38,700 up to $82,500Over $77,400 up to $165,000Over $51,800 up to $82,500
24%Over $82,500 up to $157,500Over $165,000 up to $315,000Over $82,500 up to $157,500
32%Over $157,500 up to $200,000Over $315,000 up to $400,000Over $157,500 up to $200,000
35%Over $200,000 up to $500,000Over $400,000 up to $600,000Over $200,000 up to $500,000
37%Over $500,000Over $600,000Over $500,000

2017 Income Tax Brackets

RateSingleMarried (Joint)Head of Household
10%Up to $9,325Up to $18,650Up to $13,350
15%Over $9,325 up to $37,950Over $18,650 up to $75,900Over $13,350 up to $50,800
25%Over $37,950 up to $91,900Over $75,900 up to $153,100Over $50,800 up to $131,200
28%Over $91,900 up to $191,650Over $153,100 up to $233,350Over $131,200 up to $212,500
33%Over $191,650 up to $416,700Over $233,350 up to $416,700Over $212,500 up to $416,700
35%Over $416,700 up to $418,400Over $416,700 up to $470,700Over $416,700 up to $444,500
39.6%Over $418,400Over $470,700Over $444,550

What are tax brackets?

Your tax bracket shows the rate you pay on each portion of your income for federal taxes. In the 2021 tax bracket, for instance, someone who filed taxes as a single person paid 12% on the first $9,950 of their annual taxable income. Any additional income up to $40,525 will be taxed in the next tax bracket at 12%.

If you made $20,000 in taxable income, for instance, your income results in some income being taxed in the 12% tax bracket—but you’d only pay that rate on any additional income you earned after the first $9,950.

That means your income may fall into two or more tax brackets depending on how much you earn. The percentage you pay on your overall income is called your effective tax rate. To get this, divide your tax paid by your taxable income.

Confusing? It can be, but the good news is this system limits the amount you pay on a lower income.

If you need some help, you can always go with a tax software that will do the heavy lifting for you. TurboTax, for example, is one of the most robust platforms out there – no matter what tax bracket you fall into.

Read more: Best Tax Software Compared

How are tax brackets determined?

There are currently seven different federal tax rates:

  • 10%.
  • 12%.
  • 22%.
  • 24%.
  • 32%.
  • 35%.
  • 37%.

These rates were adjusted in 2017 as part of the Tax Jobs and Cuts Act and began in the tax year 2018.

The amount you owe is determined by your income and filing status—single, married (filing jointly or separately), or head of household.

Read more: How To Know When You Should File Your Taxes Jointly or Separately

What about state tax brackets?

Every state calculates its taxes differently. Some states use progressive tax brackets similar to the federal system. Other states have flat tax rates where everyone pays the same percentage on their income regardless of how much they earn. And a few states have no state taxes at all.

One way to lower your taxable income may be by taking itemized deductions if you qualify for them. Deductions mean less of your income will be taxed in the higher tax brackets.

Read more: Itemized Deductions: A Beginner’s Guide

Difference between “single, married, and head of household” filing status

Your filing status helps determine when you move between tax brackets.

Each filing status comes with its tax brackets for each marginal income tax rate. This makes sense when you think about the different filing statuses. 

Single people only file for themselves, so there aren’t multiple people or incomes to consider.

Head of household filing status is for a single individual supporting at least one dependent, so they need more money to support their household. Their tax brackets take more taxable income to increase to the next tax bracket.

Married filing jointly tax filers file a single tax return for two people. The amount of income it takes to move up tax brackets is much larger than for a single person due to the way the tax code works. This makes sense since the return essentially covers two people instead of just one.

The IRS has pretty strict guidelines for who can file under a certain status.

You should file as single if:

  • You were unmarried or legally separated on the last day of the tax year (December 31).
  • You don’t qualify for any other filing status.

You should file as married if:

  • You were married on the last day of the tax year (December 31).
  • Your spouse died during the tax year.

Note: if you file as married, filing separately, your tax bracket rates will be similar to the single filer’s tax bracket rates up to a certain level of income. If you file as married, filing jointly, your tax bracket rates will be different.

You should file as head of household if:

  • You were unmarried or legally separated on the last day of the tax year (December 31).
  • You pay more than half of the household expenses.
  • You’re supporting at least one dependent child or a Qualifying Person. For someone to qualify as your dependent you should be providing at least half of their financial support.

Summary

These income tax brackets dictate how much federal income tax you will pay when you file your tax returns next year. Remember, however, that these are marginal tax rates. That means that the highest rate applies only to money you earn above and beyond the upper limit of the lower rate.

An example of how marginal tax rates work: if you are a single filer and have $40,000 in taxable income in 2021, you paid 10% on the first $9,950, 12% on the next $30,575. This gives you a total tax liability of $4,644.

Note: the dollar figures in these tables refer to your taxable income, not your total income. Your taxable income is your income after certain deductions have been subtracted. 

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About the author

David Weliver
Total Articles: 304
David Weliver is the founder of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues he faced during his first two decades as an adult. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.