2021-2022 Federal Income Tax Brackets

Tax Rates for the Tax Years 2021 and 2022 by Filing Status

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The U.S. imposes an income tax using progressive rates. An individual's tax liability gradually increases as their income increases.

As of December 2021, there are seven marginal tax rates or brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35%, and 37%. The income that these rates apply to adjusts every year to take inflation into account.

Marginal Tax Brackets

Ordinary income tax rates apply to most kinds of income, and they're distinguished from the capital gains tax rate that's imposed on long-term gains and qualified dividends. Your marginal tax bracket is the highest tax rate imposed on your income. Marginal tax brackets refer to the tax imposed on the next dollar earned.

This is a useful concept for tax planning, because it enables people to analyze the tax impact of additional income or deductions.

Tax rates are defined by year and by filing status. Below, find a breakdown of the tax brackets, per filing status, for tax year 2021 and tax year 2022.

Tax Tables for Tax Year 2021 (Filed in 2022)

2021 Tax Brackets
2021 Tax Rate For Single Filers For Married Individuals Filing Joint Returns For Heads of Households
10% Up to $9,950 Up to $19,900 Up to $14,200
12% $9,951 to $40,525 $19,901 to $81,050 $14,201 to $54,200
22% $40,526 to $86,375 $81,051 to $172,750 $54,201 to $86,350
24% $86,376 to $164,925 $172,751 to $329,850 $86,351 to $164,900
32% $164,926 to $209,425 $329,851 to $418,850 $164,901 to $209,400
35% $209,426 to $523,600 $418,851 to $628,300 $209,401 to $523,600
37% $523,601 or more $628,301 or more $523,601 or more
Source: IRS

These tax rates are in effect for income earned from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2021.

Tax Tables for Tax Year 2022 (Filed in 2023)

2022 Tax Rate For Single Filers For Married Individuals Filing Joint Returns For Heads of Households
10% $0 to $10,275 $0 to $20,550 $0 to $14,650
12% $10,275 to $41,775 $20,550 to $83,550 $14,650 to $55,900
22% $41,775 to $89,075 $83,550 to $178,150 $55,900 to $89,050
24% $89,075 to $170,050 $178,150 to $340,100 $89,050 to $170,050
32% $170,050 to $215,950 $340,100 to $431,900 $170,050 to $215,950
35% $215,950 to $539,900 $431,900 to $647,850 $215,950 to $539,900
37% $539,900 or more $647,850 or more $539,900 or more
Source: IRS

These tax rates are in effect for income earned from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022.

The "Hidden" 0% Tax Bracket

Every taxpayer is entitled to claim a standard deduction or to itemize their deductions. These deductions effectively constitute a 0% tax bracket, in the sense that there's no tax imposed on income represented by these deductible expenses. They're subtracted from gross income to arrive at the income levels referenced in the federal tax brackets cited above.

Progressive Structure of the Tax Rates

U.S. tax rates are referred to as "progressive," because the tax rate that applies increases incrementally as an individual's income increases. For example, someone with $1 million in income would have their income taxed at every tax bracket. Someone with $5,000 in income after deductions would be taxed only at the 10% bracket.

Progressive tax rates are different from a flat tax, where one tax rate applies to all income, and from regressive tax rates, in which tax rates decrease as income increases.

Average Tax Rates vs. Marginal Tax Rates

Marginal tax rates don't tell the full story when it comes to tax planning. An individual's average rate, referred to as the "effective tax rate," should be considered, because that is their total federal tax liability divided by their total income. Effective tax rates indicate what the federal government taxes on someone's income.