2021 & 2022 Tax Brackets (IRS Tax Rates) & Standard Deductions

This article has been updated for the 2021 and 2022 tax years. The IRS has released its 2022 tax brackets (a bracketed rate table for the IRS federal income tax rates) and standard deduction amounts, and there are a number of inflation adjustments over the 2021 tax brackets and standard deductions.

Since we’re still focused on 2021 for tax filing purposes, the 2021 tax brackets are going to be of most interest to you when you do your upcoming taxes, so I have included those as well. Armed with the below information, it would be an excellent time to calculate what your modified adjusted gross income will likely be next year and modify your tax withholding on your W4 form. This will help prevent being penalized for underpayment of taxes or getting a refund (which is really a form of self-penalization by letting the government borrow your money, interest-free).

tax brackets

With the Tax Cut & Jobs Act (tax reform implemented in 2018), the 2021 and 2022 tax brackets, tax rates, and standard deduction amounts have all been heavily revised from pre-reform levels. Barring new legislative changes, these brackets will continue through 2025.

2021 Tax Brackets (IRS Federal Income Tax Rates Table)

In the tables below, it is important to note that the highlighted rates represent the income tax rate owed for the portion of your taxable income that falls into that bracket. As an example, if you are single (unmarried) and your taxable income is $50,000, your tax tax rate on your first $9,875 of taxable income is 10%, taxable income between $9,950 and $40,525 is taxed at 12%, and taxable income between $40,525 to $50,000 (your income) would be taxed at 22%.

Many taxpayers incorrectly assume that if your total income peaks in the 35% tax bracket, for example, then all of your income is taxed at that rate. This is not true. The United States federal income tax system is a “progressive” tax system, which means that your effective (actual) tax rate is less than the tax rate in the top bracket you are in. In other words, it is taxed in steps, or brackets. With that in mind, here are the 2021 tax brackets:

Tax RatesSingle Filer Tax BracketsMarried Filing Jointly Tax Brackets (& Surviving Spouses)Married Filing Separately Tax BracketsHead of Household Tax Brackets

2021 Standard Deductions & Dependent Exemptions

Standard deductions can lower your taxable income by allowing you to deduct from your taxable income, if you decide not to itemize taxes. Aside from the standard deductions, there are income tax exemptions that can be claimed, whether you itemize your taxes or take the standard deduction.

standard deduction

You can claim an exemption for each dependent, but note that with tax reform the personal exemption had been completely eliminated, as of 2018. Also, note that a spouse can never be claimed as a dependent.

Here are the 2021 standard deduction and exemption amounts:

Filing Status:Deduction Amount:
Married Filing Separately$12,550
Married Filing Jointly (& Surviving Spouses)$25,100
Head of Household$18,800
Personal Exemption$0

A note of interest for those who will claim the standard deduction for 2021 – there is a new universal donation deduction provision for those who do not itemize their taxes (claim the standard deduction). The 2021 maximum universal donation deduction amount was increased to $600 for “married filing jointly” and $300 for all other filers.

2022 Tax Brackets (IRS Federal Income Tax Rates Table)

Here are the new 2022 federal tax brackets:

Tax RatesSingle Filer Tax BracketsMarried Filing Jointly Tax Brackets (& Surviving Spouses)Married Filing Separately Tax BracketsHead of Household Tax Brackets

2022 Standard Deductions & Exemptions

And here are the 2022 standard deduction and exemption amounts:

Filing Status:Deduction Amount:
Married Filing Separately$12,950
Married Filing Jointly (& Surviving Spouses)$25,900
Head of Household$19,400
Personal Exemption$0

For more information on standard deductions, itemizing taxes, various tax credits and deductions, and much more, check out the IRS website and my summarized “how to do your taxes” guide. My overview of the Earned Income Tax Credit may be of interest as well.

What About Capital Gains Tax Rates?

Capital gains tax rates on income from the selling of assets are broken down into short and long-term rates. Short-term capital gains tax rates are equivalent to the tax rates and brackets highlighted above, and apply to assets held for less than a year. Long-term capital gains tax rates for assets held for over a year receive beneficial tax rates and vary from the rates highlighted above. For more on short vs long-term capital gains tax rates, check out that link for more details.

Tax Rate Discussion

  • Which tax bracket will you top out in for this year and what are you predicting for 2022?
  • Will you be itemizing or taking the standard deduction?

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