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How do tax brackets work? What is taxable income?

Tax brackets can be confusing, but they play a crucial role in determining how much income tax Americans pay each year. With tax season in full swing, it’s important to understand how tax brackets work and how they affect your tax bill.

Put simply, tax brackets are a way of dividing taxable income into different segments, with each segment taxed at a different rate. The more income you make, the higher your tax bracket and the higher the percentage of your income that gets taxed.

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For example, if you make $100,000 in taxable income, you fall into the 24% tax bracket. However, not all of your $100,000 is taxed at 24%. Instead, only the portion of your income that falls into each tax bracket is taxed at that rate. So, for a $100,000 taxable income, the first $10,275 is taxed at 10%, the amount from $10,276 to $41,775 is taxed at 12%, the amount from $41,776 to $89,075 is taxed at 22%, and the amount from $89,076 to $100,000 is taxed at 24%.

The tax rate you pay is unique to your taxable income and depends on the combination of tax brackets that apply to your income level. To calculate your “effective tax rate,” which is the percentage of your income that you’re paying in taxes, you can divide your total tax bill by your total taxable income.


However, it’s important to keep in mind that tax brackets are just one part of the complex US tax system. There are many other factors that can impact your tax bill, including deductions, credits, and your filing status.

For example, if you’re married, filing jointly, your tax brackets will be different than if you’re single. Additionally, deductions and credits can help reduce your taxable income and lower your overall tax bill. So while understanding tax brackets is important, it’s only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to navigating the US tax system.

As tax season continues, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary documents and information to accurately calculate your tax bill. While tax brackets can be confusing, taking the time to understand how they work can help you make informed decisions and minimize your tax liability.



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