What Is the Federal Income Tax Table?

by Tina Amo

April 15 is just another day in most countries, but in the United States, it is the day to file federal income tax returns and pay taxes. Complicated calculations typify the filing process, but some tools from the Internal Revenue Service, including the federal income tax table, can simplify preparing federal income tax returns. The amount each taxpayer remits varies based on the individual’s income and filing status. The federal income tax table contains enough information to help individuals make accurate payments.

Tax Rate

The tax rate is the percentage that an individual must pay on the total income earned each year, minus deductions. The United States charges a progressive tax rate for individual taxes. In this system, the tax due increases as income rises. As of 2012, the system comprises six tax rates that range from 10 to 35 percent. If a single taxpayer earns a taxable income of $100,000, for example, the first $8,700, in the first tax bracket, is taxed at 10 percent; the income from $8,700 to $35,000 is taxed at 15 percent in the next bracket; the income from $35,350 to $85,650 is taxed at 25 percent; and the remaining income that falls in to the $85,650 to $178,650 bracket is charged at 28 percent. The process continues in the last two tax brackets for larger incomes, at 33 percent and 35 percent respectively, so that the last dollar is taxed. Calculating the tax due can be a complicated process if it is done manually. The federal income tax table is a straightforward alternative.

Federal Income Tax Table

Taxpayers can determine the appropriate amount of tax to pay, based on their filing status and taxable income, with the federal income tax table. The table displays income levels and the associated tax amounts that have been pre-calculated with the applicable tax rates. These figures are arranged in columns for the five filing categories: single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household and qualifying widow/widower with dependent child. The federal income tax table is included in income tax packages for individuals who prefer to file paper forms. The table is also included in tax preparation software programs, although these are not typically visible to users. The programs calculate the tax due in the background, using the information contained in the table.

Using the Federal Income Tax Table

The tax table displays income levels in the first column and the tax due for each level under the tax filing categories in the columns following. Taxpayers locate their taxable income and read across the row to arrive at the column with the appropriate filing status. The amount at the point where the income level and filing status intersect is the amount of tax due.

Adjustments to the Federal Income Tax Table

The Internal Revenue Service adjusts the tax rates each year to stay on par with inflation. Because of this change, tax tables are updated each tax year. Taxpayers can benefit from any tax breaks for the current tax year with current federal income tax tables. Using current tax tables can also help taxpayers avoid penalties from paying a lower tax than is due.

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