# What Is Your Marginal Tax Rate?

Moaning about taxes is something almost all of us tend to do. But when you talk about your tax rate, you may actually have things wrong. Some people, for example, will complain that since they're in the 33% bracket, they lose a third of their income to taxes all the time. But in reality, our tax system is a progressive one, and so when we talk about tax rates, we're often referring to marginal rates.

Your marginal tax rate is the rate at which your last dollar of income is taxed. Once your income reaches a certain threshold, you'll pay a higher percentage of tax on your last dollars of earnings than you will on your first dollars of earnings. Your marginal tax rate is the maximum rate you'll have to pay -- but it isn't your overall rate.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

## Marginal tax rates

The more money you earn, the more your tax rate will climb. But that tax rate only applies to your highest dollars of earnings. In fact, as you'll see in the table below, all single tax filers pay the same amount of tax on their first \$9,325 of earnings -- 10%. Once you start making more than that as a single filer, your tax rate on your subsequent earnings will go up accordingly, as follows:

Tax Bracket: Single Filer

Income Range

You'll Be Taxed...

10%

\$0-\$9,325

15%

\$9,326-\$37,950

\$932.50 plus 15% of your income above \$9,325

25%

\$37,951-\$91,900

\$5,226.25 plus 25% of your income above \$37,950

28%

\$91,901-\$191,650

\$18,713.75 plus 28% of your income above \$91,900

33%

\$191,651-\$416,700

\$46,643.75 plus 33% of your income above \$191,650

35%

\$416,701-\$418,400

\$120,910.25 plus 35% of your income above \$416,700

39.6%

\$418,401 and above

\$121,505.25 plus 39.6% of your income above \$418,400

DATA SOURCE: TAXFOUNDATION.ORG.

Now joint filers have different marginal tax rates than single filers, as shown in the following table:

Tax Bracket: Married Filing Jointly

Income Range

You'll Be Taxed...

10%

\$0-\$18,650

15%

\$18,651-\$75,900

\$1,865 plus 15% of your income above \$18,650

25%

\$75,901-\$153,100

\$10,452.50 plus 25% of your income above \$75,900

28%

\$153,101-\$233,350

\$29,752.50 plus 28% of your income above \$153,100

33%

\$233,351-\$416,700

\$52,222.50 plus 33% of your income above \$233,350

35%

\$416,701-\$470,700

\$112,728 plus 35% of your income above \$416,700

39.6%

\$470,701 and above

\$131,628 plus 39.6% of your income above \$470,700

DATA SOURCE: TAXFOUNDATION.ORG.

If you've ever heard a couple bemoan the so-called marriage penalty, it's because of the way tax brackets are set up for joint filers versus single filers. As an example, imagine you have two single filers earning \$120,000 per year and falling into the 28% marginal tax bracket as a result. Upon getting married, those same filers would have a combined income of \$240,000 that would push them into the 33% bracket, which means they'd wind up paying more taxes on their highest dollars of income.

Of course, the opposite can also happen. If you have one member of a couple earning considerably less than the other, their combined earnings might drop them down into a lower tax bracket, thus reducing what they pay on their highest dollars of earnings.