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What Is Earnings Tax and How Is It Calculated?

Earnings tax is the tax that federal, state, and native governments require companies and people to pay on their complete earnings every year. Complete earnings can embrace wages, ideas, curiosity, dividends, unemployment, and retirement distributions.

To calculate earnings tax, you will need to first decide your taxable earnings and submitting standing to see which tax bracket you fall into and the full deductions you qualify for. When you calculate how a lot of your complete earnings for the 12 months is taxable, you possibly can decide the quantity of federal and state earnings taxes you owe.   

If you file your IRS Kind 1040 on the finish of the 12 months, you’ll have already got an concept of how a lot you possibly can anticipate to pay in earnings taxes or when you’ll qualify for a refund. 

How Earnings Tax Works

No matter your immigration standing, in case you are working and making an earnings in the US, you might be required to pay federal earnings taxes in your complete earnings to the Inner Income Service (IRS) every year. Based mostly on the rules set by the IRS, you’ll calculate your taxable earnings by factoring in deductions and exemptions. Then, you’ll see when you qualify for any tax credit earlier than figuring out the full quantity you owe in taxes. 

The federal government makes use of these private earnings taxes to fund nationwide safety, roads, colleges, authorities companies, and applications like Social Safety.

Calculating Taxable Earnings

Taxable earnings is the quantity you earned over the course of the 12 months that’s topic to taxes. It’s equal to your gross earnings, or annual earnings, minus the deductions and exemptions you qualify for. When filling out your Kind 1040 to pay taxes, you’ll calculate your taxable earnings utilizing the full wages, ideas, and different compensation present in field 1 of Kind W-2.  

To find taxable income, subtract the deductions and exemptions you qualify for from your gross annual income.


Tax exemptions like charitable donations or dependant exemptions scale back your taxable earnings and the quantity you owe in taxes. Since the usual deduction elevated with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, private exemptions for 2022 have been eradicated. 

Customary vs. Itemized Deductions

When submitting your taxes, you possibly can select to itemize your deductions or take the usual deduction based mostly in your submitting standing. You’ll solely wish to itemize in case your certified deductions are greater than the usual deduction.  

If somebody can declare you as a dependent, you possibly can take an ordinary deduction of $1,150, or your complete earned earnings plus $400 — whichever is bigger. If this complete exceeds the usual deduction to your submitting standing, then you definitely’ll use the usual deduction listed under as a substitute. 

These charges are based mostly on the Income Process 2021-45 from the IRS.

2022 Customary Deduction
Submitting Standing Deduction Quantity
Single $12,950
Married Submitting Collectively $25,900
Head of Family $19,400
Married Submitting Individually $12,950
Supply: Inner Income Service

Understanding Your Federal Earnings Tax Bracket

Based mostly in your submitting standing — single, married submitting collectively, married submitting individually, or head of family — and your taxable earnings, you’re positioned in a federal tax bracket that determines your tax price and the way a lot tax you owe.

What’s Federal Earnings Tax Withheld?

Federal earnings tax withheld is the quantity eliminated out of your paychecks over the course of the 12 months that goes in direction of taxes. This quantity will be present in field 2 of Kind W-2, which you’ll obtain out of your employer on the finish of every 12 months.

What Tax Bracket Am I In?

When you calculate your taxable earnings, you possibly can take a look at the present federal tax bracket based mostly in your submitting standing and decide the taxes you owe. You’ll find your taxable earnings on line 37 of Kind 1040.
The seven earnings tax brackets for 2022 vary from 10 % on earnings lower than $10,275 to 37 % on earnings equal to $539,900 or extra for single filers. Under, you will discover the efficient tax price based mostly in your submitting standing and taxable earnings.

2022 Federal Earnings Tax Brackets and Charges
Tax Charge Single Married Submitting Collectively Head of Family Married Submitting Individually
10% $0 to $10,275 $0 to $28,550 $0 to $14,650 $0 to $10,275
12% $10,275 to $41,775 $20,550 to $83,550 $14,650 to $55,900 $10,275 to $41,775
22% $41,775 to $89,075 $83,550 to $178,150 $55,900 to $89,050 $41,775 to $89,075
24% $89,075 to $170,050 $178,150 to $340,100 $89,050 to $170,050 $89,075 to $170,050
32% $170,050 to $215,950 $340,100 to $431,900 $170,050 to $215,950 $170,050 to $215,950
35% $215,950 to $539,900 $431,900 to $647,850 $215,950 to $539,900 $215,950 to $323,925
37% $539,900 or extra $647,850 or extra $539,900 or extra $323,925 or extra
Supply: Inner Income Service

State and Native Earnings Tax

Solely 9 states within the U.S. — Texas, Florida, Tennessee, Alaska, Nevada, Washington, New Hampshire, Wyoming, and North Dakota — don’t accumulate state earnings taxes. The opposite 41 states both levy a flat or graduated-rate earnings tax.

Color coded map of the United States showing state tax rates.

Tax Credit

Whereas deductions scale back your taxable earnings, tax credit scale back the quantity of tax you owe, also referred to as tax legal responsibility. In case your tax credit are higher than the quantity of taxes you owe, you might be entitled to a refund. Watch out to observe IRS guidelines for how one can calculate your tax credit earlier than claiming them in your tax return. 

People can qualify for household and dependent credit, earnings and financial savings credit, home-owner credit, well being care credit, and schooling credit. The baby tax credit score and dependent care credit score are among the most typical tax credit people qualify for.

How Do I Pay Taxes or Get a Refund?

As soon as you establish the quantity of federal and state earnings taxes you owe for the 12 months, you could have a number of choices for paying them. In case you’ve filed a Kind W-2 along with your present employer, they may take out a portion of every of your paychecks to go in direction of your earnings taxes all year long — that is your tax withheld. 

Many individuals find yourself paying barely extra all year long than what they really owe in earnings taxes. When submitting your return, you’ll calculate how a lot you really owe. In case you overpaid, you’ll qualify for a tax refund

In case you haven’t had earnings taxes taken out of your pay all year long otherwise you owe greater than what was taken out, you’ll have to pay the taxes you owe while you file with the IRS. By calculating your earnings tax, you possibly can estimate how a lot you’ll owe in taxes so you possibly can funds all year long and observe our tax planning methods to decrease your tax legal responsibility and reduce tax season stress. 

Our budgeting app makes it simple to put aside cash each month to pay your taxes on the finish of the 12 months and even monitor your refund after you file. 



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