How to Calculate Federal Income Tax Rate

by Mark Kennan ; Updated July 27, 2017
Federal taxes use a progressive tax rate structure.

Items you will need

  • Calculator
  • IRS Publication 17

Your federal income tax rate depends on how much taxable income you have for the year. Knowing your federal tax rate can help you make better financial decisions because of the potential tax savings. For example, a donation to charity will save you more on taxes if you fall in the 35 percent tax bracket than if you fall in the 15 percent tax bracket. To find your federal income tax rate, you need to know your total income and the deductions and exemptions you will claim.

Step 1

Compute the total of your taxable income for the year. Taxable income includes your salary and wages, which can be found on your W-2 or 1099-MISC, dividend income, which can be found on your 1099-DIV, and interest income, which can be found on your 1099-INT.

Step 2

Subtract any adjustments to income you claim on your income taxes. Adjustments to income include tuition and fees, self-employed health insurance and student loan interest.

Step 3

Subtract the value of any personal exemptions you claim. The value changes annually for inflation. You can claim personal exemptions for yourself unless you can be claimed by another person as a dependent, and for any of your dependents.

Step 4

Subtract the greater of the standard deduction or the total of your itemized deductions to find your total taxable income for the year. If you claim the standard deduction, you cannot claim any itemized deductions.

Step 5

Look up the income tax rate schedule for the current year for your filing status in Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Publication 17.

Step 6

Find the tax bracket for your total taxable income. For example, using the 2013 income tax rate schedule, if you are single and have $77,000 in income, your federal income tax rate would be 25 percent.

About the Author

Based in the Kansas City area, Mike specializes in personal finance and business topics. He has been writing since 2009 and has been published by "Quicken," "TurboTax," and "The Motley Fool."

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