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Doing your taxes can be, well, taxing. So many numbers. So many forms. And so much pressure to make sure everything is right.

There are many parts of taxes that make it confusing, and tax brackets are no exception. Recent changes didn’t help, either.

The Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017 ushered in a new configuration of tax brackets, changing the taxable income ranges within the seven federal tax brackets. There’s a lot to unpack here. We’re here to help.

Read on to find complete tables that will show the various tax brackets and federal income tax rates for the 2020 tax year (due in April 2021) and for the 2021 tax year (due in April 2022). You’ll also be able to look back at last year’s brackets to see how the numbers have changed.

How Tax Brackets Work

Plain and simple, the tax bracket is the method the IRS uses to determine how much to tax your income.

The IRS divides your taxable income into portions, or brackets. Each bracket has a specific income range and represents a specific percent. This percent is the rate at which your income within that bracket will be taxed.

There are currently the seven tax brackets for the 2020 tax year, which you’ll file in 2021:

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

While there are seven brackets total, there isn’t just one single tax bracket chart. As you’ll see below, the income range in each bracket differs depending on whether you’re single or married or the “head of household.”

It gets a little trickier.

The federal tax system is “progressive,” which means that you’ll pay more on portions of your income as you progressively make more. Because of this, your entire income doesn’t fall into one federal tax bracket, thus, you won’t pay just one tax rate.

Your income will first fall into the smallest bracket (10%) and that amount will be taxed that bracket’s rate. Any income above that bracket’s limit will fall into the next bracket (12%) and be taxed that bracket’s rate, and so on.

We’ll provide examples of this in the following sections below, which show the various tax brackets and federal income tax rates for your 2021 tax return (2020 tax year), and then the updated tables that will correlate to your tax return for 2022 (2021 tax year).

Note that these IRS income tax brackets only apply to federal taxes; check with your state to find out how your income is taxed locally.

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

 

2020 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Below are the federal tax brackets for taxes due by April 2021, for the income you earned in 2020.

 

Tax Rate

 

 

Single

 

 

Married, Filing Jointly

 

Married, Filing Separately

 

Head Of Household

10%  

$0 –
$9,875

 

$0 –
$19,750

 

$0 –
$9,875

 

$0 –
$14,100

12%  

$9,8761 –
$40,125

 

$19,751 –
$80,250

 

$9,876 –
$40,125

 

$14,101 –
$53,700

 

 

22%

 

$40,126 –
$85,525

 

$80,251 – $171,050

 

$40,126 –
$85,525

 

$53,701 –
$85,500

24%  

$85,526 – $163,300

 

$171,051 – $326,600

 

$85,526 – $163,300

 

$85,501 – $163,300

 

32%

 

$163,301 – $207,350

 

$326,601 – $414,700

 

$163,301 – $207,350

 

$163,301 – $207,350

35%  

$207,351 – $518,400

 

$408,201 – $622,050

 

$207,351 – $311,025

 

$207,351 – $518,400

37%  

$518,401+

$622,051+ $311,026+ $518,401+

The charts below show you the taxes owed for the four different filing statuses. An example of how to determine the total amount owed is below the first chart.

Tax Brackets For Single Filers

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

 

10%

 

$0 –
$9,875

10% of taxable income
12%  

$9,8761 –
$40,125

 

$987.50 plus 12% of any amount over $9,875

 

22%

 

$40,126 –
$85,525

 

$4,617.50 plus 22% of any amount over $40,125

24%  

$85,526 –
$163,300

 

$14,605.50 plus 24% of any amount over $85,525

32% $163,301 –
$207,350
 $33,271.50 plus 32% of any amount over $163,300
 

35%

 

$207,351 –
$518,400

 

$47,367.50 plus 35% of any amount over $207,350

37% $518,401+  

$156,235 plus 37% of any amount over $518,400

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

Figuring Out How Much Taxes You Owe

If you were a single filer who made $86,000 in taxable income after deductions in 2020, you would pay a total of $14,574 in taxes.

Wondering how we got there? Take a look at the chart above and follow along below:

With a taxable income of $86,000, your income falls into the 24% tax bracket for federal taxes. But as we noted, that doesn’t mean the whole $86,000 will be taxed at 24%. Just a portion of it will. The other portions will be taxed at 10%, 12% or 22%.

Here’s a breakdown of how much each portion of your income will be taxed:

  • $9,875 of your income will be taxed at 10%.
  • $30,249 will be taxed at 12%. This is the portion of your income that falls between $9,876 and $40,125. To get this number, subtract the $9,876 from $40,125.
  • $45,399 will be taxed at 22%. This is the portion of income that falls between $40,126 and $85,525. To get this number, subtract $40,126 from $85,525.
  • $477 will be taxed at 24%. This is the portion of income that falls between $85,526 and $163,300. Since your income does not surpass this bracket, you get this number by adding the previous portions together and subtracting them from your total income.

Now that you know what parts of your income get taxed in each bracket, you can see how much you’ll owe in taxes total.

To do that, carry the total from the previous tax bracket and add it to the percentage you’re taxed in the next bracket, then carry that total over. Do this until you reach your tax bracket (in this example, 24%).

Note how the numbers in bold carry from bracket to bracket:

  • Taxes owed in 10% bracket = $9,875 x .10 = $987.50
  • Taxes owed in 12% bracket = $30,249 x .12 = $3,629.88 + $987.50 (from previous bracket) = $4,617.38
  • Taxes owed in 22% bracket = $45,399 x .22 = $9987.78 + $4,617.38 (from previous bracket) = $14,605.16
  • Taxes owed in 24% bracket = $477 x .24 = $114.48 + $14,605.16 (from previous bracket) = $14,719.64 in total taxes owed

You can figure out how much you would pay by following the same steps.

Not filing under a single status? As mentioned earlier in this article, each filing status has a different tax bracket chart. Find yours below to figure out how much you’ll owe for the 2020 tax year.

Tax Brackets For Married, Filing Jointly

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$19,750

 

10% of taxable income

12%  

$19,751 –
$80,250

 

$1,975 plus 12% of any amount over $19,750

22%  

$80,251 –
$171,050

 

$9,235 plus 22% of any amount over $80,250

24%  

$171,051 –
$326,600

 

$29,211 plus 24% of any amount over $171,050

32%  

$326,601 –
$414,700

 

$66,543 plus 32% of any amount over $326,600

35%  

$408,201 –
$622,050

 

$94,735 plus 35% of any amount over $414,700

37%

 

$622,051+  

$167,307.50 plus 37% of any amount over $622,050

Tax Brackets For Married, Filing Separately

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$9,875

10% of taxable income
12%  

$9,876 –
$40,125

 

$987.50 plus 12% of any amount over $9,875

22%  

$40,126 –
$85,525

 

$4,617.50 plus 22% of any amount over $40,125

24%  

$85,526 –
$163,300

 

$14,605.50 plus 24% of any amount over $85,525

32%  

$163,301 –
$207,350

 

$33,271.50 plus 32% of any amount over $163,300

35%  

$207,351 –
$311,025

 

$47,367.50 plus 35% of any amount over $207,350

37% $311,026+  

$83,653.75 plus 37% of any amount over $311,025

Tax Brackets For Head Of Household

 

Tax Rate

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$14,100

10% of taxable income
 

12%

 

$14,101 –
$53,700

 

$1,410 plus 12% of any amount over $14,100

22%  $53,701 –
$85,500
 $6,162 plus 22% of any amount over $53,700
24%  

$85,501 –
$163,300

 

$13,158 plus 24% of any amount over $85,500

 

32%

 

$163,301 –
$207,350

 

$31,830 plus 32% of any amount over $163,300

35%  

$207,351 –
$518,400

 

$45,926 plus 35% of any amount over $207,350

 

37%

$518,401+

 

 

$154,793.50 plus 37% of any amount over $518,400

2021 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Each year, the IRS typically changes tax brackets slightly. Here is the breakdown for taxes due in April 2022, which will be paid for income earned in 2021.

 

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 – $164,925

 

$172,751 – $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+

$628,301+ $314,151+ $523,601+

The charts below show you the taxes owed for the four different filing statuses.

Tax Brackets For Single Filers

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

 

10%

 

$0 –
$9,950

10% of taxable income
12%  

$9,951 –
$40,525

 

$995 plus 12% of any amount over $9,950

 

22%

 

$40,526 –
$86,375

 

$4,664 plus 22% of any amount over $40,525

24%  

$86,376 –
$164,925

 

$14,751 plus 24% of any amount over $86,375

 

32%

$164,926 –
$209,425
 $33,603 plus 32% of any amount over $164,925
35%  

$209,426 –
$523,600

 

$47,843 plus 35% of any amount over $209,425

 

37%

$523,601+  

$157,804 plus 37% of any amount over $523,600

Tax Brackets For Married, Filing Jointly

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$19,900

10% of taxable income
12%  

$19,901 –
$81,050

 

$1,990 plus 12% of any amount over $19,900

22%  

$81,051 –
$172,750

 

$9,328 plus 22% of any amount over $81,050

24%  

$172,751 –
$329,850

 

$29,502 plus 24% of any amount over $172,750

32%  

$329,851 –
$418,850

 

$67,206 plus 32% of any amount over $329,850

35%  

$418,851 –
$628,300

 

$95,686 plus 35% of any amount over $418,850

37% $628,301+  

$168,993 plus 37% of any amount over $628,300

Tax Brackets For Married, Filing Separately

 

Tax Rate 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$9,950

10% of taxable income
12%  

$9,951 –
$40,525

 

$995 plus 12% of any amount over $9,950

 

22%

 

$40,526 –
$86,375

 

$4,664 plus 22% of any amount over $40,525

24%  

$86,376 –
$164,925

 

$14,751 plus 24% of any amount over $86,375

32%  

$164,926 –
$209,425

 

$33,603 plus 32% of any amount over $164,925

35%  

$209,426 –
$314,150

 

$47,843 plus 35% of any amount over $209,425

37% $314,151+  

$84,496 plus 37% of any amount over $314,150

Tax Brackets For Head Of Household

 

Tax Rate

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$14,200

10% of taxable income
 

12%

 

$14,201 –
$54,200

 

$1,420 plus 12% of any amount over $14,200

22%  

$54,201 –
$86,350

 

$6,220 plus 22% of any amount over $54,200

24%  

$86,351 –
$164,900

 

$13,293 plus 24% of any amount over $86,350

 

32%

 

$164,901 –
$209,400

 

$32,145 plus 32% of any amount over $164,900

 

35%

 

$209,401 –
$523,600

 

$46,385 plus 35% of any amount over $209,400

 

37%

$523,601+  

$156,355 plus 37% of any amount over $523,600

2019 Federal Income Tax Brackets

As reference, here are the federal tax brackets for taxes that were due in April 2020, for your income earned in 2019.

 

Tax Rate

 

 

Single

 

 

Married, Filing Jointly

 

Married, Filing Separately

 

Head Of Household

10%  

$0 –
$9,700

 

$0 –
$19,400

 

$0 –
$9,700

 

$0 –
$13,850

12%  

$9,701 –
$39,475

 

$19,401 –
$78,950

 

$9,701 –
$39,475

 

$13,851 –
$52,850

22%  

$39,476 –
$84,200

 

$78,950 – $168,400

 

$39,476 –
$84,200

 

$52,851 –
$84,200

24%  

$84,201 – $160,725

 

$168,401 – $321,450

 

$84,201 – $160,725

 

$84,201 – $160,700

32%  

$160,726 – $204,100

 

$321,451 – $408,200

 

$160,726 – $204,100

 

$160,701 – $204,100

35%  

$204,101 – $510,300

 

$408,201 – $612,350

 

$204,101 – $306,175

 

$204,101 – $510,300

 

37%

 

$510,301+

 

$612,351+

 

$306,176+

 

$510,301+

The charts below show you the taxes owed for the four different filing statuses.

Tax Brackets For Single Filers

 

Tax Rate

Taxable Income Range  

Taxes Owed

 

10%

$0 –
$9,700
 

10% of taxable income

12%  

$9,701 –
$39,475

 

$970 plus 12% of any amount over $9,700

22%  

$39,476 –
$84,200

 

$4,543 plus 22% of any amount over $39,475

24%  

$84,201 –
$160,725

 

$14,382.50 plus 24% of any amount over $84,200

32%  

$160,726 –
$204,100

 

$32,748.50 plus 32% of any amount over $160,725

35%  

$204,101 –
$510,300

 

$46,628.50 plus 35% of any amount over $204,100

37%

 

 

$510,301+

 

$153,798.50 plus 37% of any amount over $510,300

Tax Brackets And Amount Owed For Married, Filing Jointly

 

Tax Rate

 

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%  

$0 –
$19,400

 

10% of taxable income

 

 

12%

 

 

$19,401 –
$78,950

 

$1,940 plus 12% of any amount over $19,400

 

22%

 

$78,951 –
$168,400

 

$9,086 plus 22% of any amount over $78,950

 

24%

 

$168,401 –
$321,450

 

$28,765 plus 24% of any amount over $168,400

32%

 

 

$321,451 –
$408,200

 

$65,497 plus 32% of any amount over $321,450

35%

 

 

$408,201 –
$612,350

 

$93,257 plus 35% of any amount over $408,200

 

37%

$612,351+

 

 

$164,709.50 plus 37% of any amount over $612,350

Tax Brackets For Married, Filing Separately

 

Tax Rate

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%

 

 

$0 –
$9,700

10% of taxable income
 

12%

 

$9,701 –
$39,475

 

$970 plus 12% of any amount over $9,700

22%

 

 

$39,476 –
$84,200

 

$4,543 plus 22% of any amount over $39,475

24%

 

 

$84,201 –
$160,725

 

$14,382.50 plus 24% of any amount over $84,200

32%

 

 

$160,726 –
$204,100

 

$32,748.50 plus 32% of any amount over $160,725

 

35%

 

$204,101 –
$306,175

 

$46,638.50 plus 35% of any amount over $204,100

 

37%

 

$306,176+

 $82,354.75 plus 37% of any amount over $306,175

Tax Brackets For Head Of Household

 

Tax Rate

 

Taxable Income Range

 

Taxes Owed

10%

 

 

$0 –
$13,850

10% of taxable income

 

12%

 

 

$13,851 –
$52,850

 

$1,385 plus 12% of any amount over $13,850

22%

 

 

$52,851 –
$84,200

 

$6,065 plus 22% of any amount over $52,850

24%

 

 

$84,201 –
$160,700

 

$12,962 plus 24% of any amount over $84,200

32%

 

 

$160,701 –
$204,100

 

$31,322 plus 32% of any amount over $160,700

35%

 

 

$204,101 –
$510,300

 

$45,210 plus 35% of any amount over $204,100

37%

 

 

$510,301+

 

 

$152,380 plus 37% of any amount over $510,300

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

 

How To Qualify For A Lower Tax Bracket — Tax Deductions Vs. Tax Credits

Wondering how you can reduce the amount of income on which you pay taxes? Well, you can make less money, but that’s not typically a goal most people work toward.

Instead, you can make sure that you’re maximizing the tax deductions for which you legally qualify and that you’re taking advantage of any tax credits you may have.

Tax Deductions

These will differ depending on whether you’re self-employed or paid by an employer and also on whether you take the “standard deduction” or itemize.

The “standard deduction” is what everyone can take if they choose not to itemize – that is, list out all their deductions. Taxpayers will choose to itemize if that yields a larger tax deduction, or they’ll take the standard deduction if it does not.

The tax cuts law essentially doubled the standard deduction from what it was before, leading fewer people to itemize.

The standard deduction for 2020 is:

  • $12,400 for single filers and married filers filing separately
  • $24,800 for married filers filing jointly
  • $18,650 for heads of household

 

For 2021 (that is, the taxes you will pay in 2022), the standard deduction amounts will be:

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

 

If you do choose to itemize, here are common deductions to consider.

  • Home mortgage interest deduction
  • Contributions to IRA and SEP retirement plans
  • Charitable contributions
  • State and local taxes (known as SALT, the deduction for your state and local income, sales and property taxes are now limited to $10,000 or $5,000 if married and filing separately, which largely only applies to taxpayers in states with high tax rates)
  • Expenses associated with running your own business if you’re a business owner

Please note that you should consult with a professional tax preparer for advice on whether you qualify for these based on your personal situation to avoid a potential IRS tax audit.

CARES Act Additional Deduction

Usually, you can only deduct charitable donations if you itemize your deductions. However, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES Act) allows taxpayers to itemize up to $300 for charitable donations to qualifying organizations in 2020 even if they take the standard deduction.  

What About Tax Credits?

You might also qualify for tax credits. While they don’t reduce your taxable income or change your tax bracket, they’re even better – they reduce your income tax liability. In other words, whatever amount of tax you are deemed to owe, you can deduct the entire amount of the tax credit on a dollar-for-dollar basis.

You may qualify for federal or state tax credits, and they vary by income, so be sure to talk with a tax professional. Common tax credits include:

  • Child tax credit
  • Earned income tax credit
  • Adoption tax credit
  • Residential energy tax credit
  • Renter’s tax credit

While paying taxes is no one’s idea of a good time, understanding federal tax brackets and other nuances of the tax system can at least make it a little less confusing and help you feel more comfortable and confident when it comes time to file.

Please remember that, while this article does provide some tax information, this is not tax advice. Please consult a financial advisor for tax assistance.

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

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This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. Our mother lives between we three kids each 6 mos. At a time. Only income social security. One of us claims single on ss and works pastime. Another head household one child works and other married no kids works. Who would benefit to claim her better on taxes?

  2. I agree with Steve. Yes, you do label the examples as taxable income but your sentence says “ If you were a single filer who MADE $85,000 in 2019….” That would lead many people to not understand there is a difference between $85000 gross income vs $85000 taxable income as shown in your tables.

      1. Hi Velma:

        At the very least, if you sold property in 2019, you’re likely to have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. Here’s a post on capital gains tax. However, for definitive advice, I recommend speaking with a tax professional.

    1. Hi Jackie:

      It’s hard for me to tell you that because there are all sorts of tax credits and benefits that may be available, but apply based on your tax situation. I can give you an IRS resource on tax benefits for education. You can also feel free to reach out to a tax professional.

  3. In the 2019 Tax Brackets For Single Filers table I believe you have an error for the 35% tax bracket under Taxes Owed.
    The value posted is $46,638.50 plus 35% of any amount over $204,100, whereas I believe the correct value should be $46,628.50 plus 35% of any amount over $204,100

  4. I live in Florida and I am planning to retire next year ,my total income jointly with my wife will be around $78,000 a year. Do I have to file the income tax in the state of Florida or if we move to a state where the income tax bracket is lower will be okay.

    1. I highly recommend you speak to an income tax advisor about this. If you make the income in Florida, there’s a good chance you have to pay the taxes based on that income tax rate.

  5. Your illustration of 2019 taxes omitted the standard deduction, so taxes due were over-stated. Someone check your work???

    Steve Korn

    1. Hi Steve:

      Thanks for reading! I understand your point. However, the tax examples in this article are all labeled taxable income. Income that’s already been deducted isn’t taxable. Hope this helps clear it up! Have a great day!

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