2018 Federal Income Tax Brackets and New Tax Rates
The new tax rules retain seven federal income tax brackets, but tax rates and thresholds have changed.
In 2018, there are seven federal tax brackets: 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37%. The bracket depends on taxable income and filing status. Our table shows the tax brackets and federal income tax rates that apply to the 2018 tax year and relate to the tax return you’ll file in 2019.
How Tax Brackets Work
Being “in” a tax bracket doesn’t mean you pay that federal income tax rate on everything you make. The progressive tax system means that people with higher taxable incomes are subject to higher tax federal income tax rates, and people with lower taxable incomes are subject to lower federal income tax rates.
The government decides how much tax you owe by dividing your taxable income into chunks — also known as tax brackets — and each chunk gets taxed at the corresponding tax rate. The beauty of this is that no matter which bracket you’re in, you won’t pay that tax rate on your entire income.
Example: Let’s say you’re a single filer with $32,000 in taxable income. That puts you in the 12% tax bracket in 2018. But do you pay 12% on all $32,000? No. Actually, you pay only 10% on the first $9,525; you pay 12% on the rest. (Look at the tax brackets above to see the breakout.)
How to get into a lower tax bracket and pay a lower federal income tax rate?
There are two common ways of reducing your tax bill are credits and deductions:
Tax credits directly reduce the amount of tax you owe; they don’t affect what bracket you’re in.
Tax deductions, on the other hand, reduce how much of your income is subject to taxes. Deductions lower your taxable income by the percentage of your highest federal income tax bracket. So if you fall into the 22% tax bracket, a $1,000 deduction saves you $220.
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