Tax Brackets, Filing Requirements, Cutoffs, and Income Limits

Do you have to file a tax return? Are you looking for whether you qualify for a deduction or credit? See that and more here.

Table of Contents

Tax Return Basics

Tax Return Filing Requirements

You probably need to file a tax return if you:

  • Had income greater than the standard deduction (see below).
  • Had self-employment income greater than $400.
  • Received the Premium Tax Credit (Obamacare subsidy).
  • Had income tax withheld and want your refund.

There are a few other special situations where you may need to file. You can check using this IRS tool.

Key Terms to Know on Form 1040

  • Total income (line 9): Your total or gross income from all sources before deductions.
  • Adjusted Gross Income or AGI (line 11): Your gross income minus certain deductions. AGI is used to see if you qualify for certain deductions or credits.
  • Taxable income (line 15): Your AGI minus additional deductions like itemized deductions. This is the number used to find your tax bracket and calculate your income taxes.

Tax Brackets

Single Filer and Married Filing Separately Tax Brackets

Tax Rate20222021202020192018
10%$0 to $10,275$0 to $9,950$0 to $9,875$0 to $9,700$0 to $9,525
12%$10,275 to $41,775$9,951 to $40,525$9,876 to $40,125$9,701 to $39,475$9,526 to $38,700
22%$41,775 to $89,075$40,526 to $86,375$40,126 to $85,525$39,476 to $84,200$38,701 to $82,500
24%$89,075 to $170,050$86,376 to $164,925$85,526 to $163,300$84,201 to $160,725$82,501 to $157,500
32%$170,050 to $215,950$164,926 to $209,425$163,301 to $207,350$160,726 to $204,100$200,001 to $500,000
35%$215,950 to $539,900$209,426 to $523,600$207,351 to $518,400$204,101 to $510,300$200,001-$500,000
37%$539,900 or more$523,601 or more$518,400 or more$510,301 or more$500,001 or more
Your tax rate is based on your taxable income after your standard deduction and other deductions. You fill up each lower bucket first. If you’re in the 22% bracket, you only pay 22% on your income above the minimum for that bracket. You pay 10% and 12% on the amounts of your income that fill those brackets.

Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widow(er) Tax Brackets

Tax Rate20222021202020192018
10%$0 to $20,550$0 to $19,900$0 to $19,750$0 to $19,400$0 to $19,050
12%$20,550 to $83,550$19,901 to $81,500$19,751 to $80,250$19,401 to $78,950$19,051 to $77,400
22%$83,550 to $178,150$81,501 to $172,750$80,251 to $171,050$78,951 to $168,400$77,401 to $165,000
24%$178,150 to $340,100$172,751 to $329,850$171,051 to $326,600$168,401 to $321,450$165,001 to $315,000
32%$340,100 to $431,900$329,851 to $418,850$326,601 to $414,700$321,451 to $408,200$315,001 to $400,000
35%$431,900 to $647,850$418,851 to $628,300$414,701 to $622,050$408,201 to $612,350$400,001 to $600,000
37%$647,850 or more$629,301 or more$622,051 or more$612,351 or more$600,001 or more
Your tax rate is based on your taxable income after your standard deduction and other deductions. You fill up each lower bucket first. If you’re in the 22% bracket, you only pay 22% on your income above the minimum for that bracket. You pay 10% and 12% on the amounts of your income that fill those brackets.

Head of Household Tax Brackets

Tax Rate20222021202020192018
10%$0 to $14,650$0 to $14,200$0 to $14,100$0 to $13,850$0 to $13,600
12%$14,651 to $55,900$14,201 to $54,200$14,101 to $53,700$13,851 to $52,850$13,601 to $51,800
22%$55,901 to $89,050$54,201 to $86,350$53,701 to $85,500$52,851 to $84,200$51,801 to $82,500
24%$89,051 to $170,050$86,351 to $164,900$85,501 to $163,300$84,201 to $160,700$82,501 to $157,500
32%$170,051 to $215,950$164,901 to $209,400$163,301 to $207,350$160,701 to $204,100$157,501 to $200,000
35%$215,951 to $539,900$209,401 to $523,600$207,351 to $518,400$204,101 to $510,300$200,001 to $500,000
37%Over $539,900$523,601 or more$518,401 or more$510,301 or more$500,001 or more
Your tax rate is based on your taxable income after your standard deduction and other deductions. You fill up each lower bucket first. If you’re in the 22% bracket, you only pay 22% on your income above the minimum for that bracket. You pay 10% and 12% on the amounts of your income that fill those brackets.

Trust and Estate Tax Brackets

Tax Rate202220212020
10%$0 to $2,750$0 to $2,650$0 to $2,600
24%$2,750 to $9,850$2,651 to $9,550$2,601 to $9,450
35%$9,850 to $13,450$9,551 to $13,050$9,451 to $12,950
37%$13,450 or more$13,051 or more$12,951 or more
Your tax rate is based on your taxable income after your standard deduction and other deductions. You fill up each lower bucket first. If you’re in the 22% bracket, you only pay 22% on your income above the minimum for that bracket. You pay 10% and 12% on the amounts of your income that fill those brackets.

Capital Gains Tax Brackets

Capital gains tax is a flat rate based on your income rather than a scaling tax bracket. The first number is the maximum income you can have to receive a 0% capital gains tax rate. The second number is to receive the 15% rate. If your income is higher, you pay 20% on capital gains.

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Married Filing Separately0%: 41,675
15%: $459,750
0%: $40,400
15%: $445,850
0%: $40,000
15%: $441,450
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower0%: $83,350
15%: $517,200
0%: $80,000
15%: $501,600
0%: $80,000
15%: $496,600
Head of Household0%: $55,800
15%: $488,500
0%: $54,100
15%: $473,750
0%: $53,600
15%: $469,050
Trusts and Estates0%: $2,800
15%: $13,700
0%: $2,650
15%: $13,150
0%: $2,650
15%: $13,150

Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) Exemptions

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Head of Household$75,900$73,600$72,900
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower$86,200$114,600$113,400
Married Filing Separately$59,050$56,700$56,700
Trusts and Estates$26,500$25,700$25,400

Deductions and Credits

Standard Deduction

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Married Filing Separately$12,950$12,550$12,400
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower$25,900$25,100$24,800
Head of Household$19,400$18,800$18,650

Qualified Business Income Deduction

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Married Filing Separately$170,050$164,900$163,600
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower$340,100$329,800$326,600
Head of Household$170,050$164,900$163,600
Income up to this limit receives the full 20%. There is a phaseout over the next $50,000 of income for single, separate, and head of household filers. The phaseout for joint filers is $100,000.

Standard Mileage Rates (Per Mile)

Type202220212020
Business$0.585$0.56$0.575
Medical$0.18$0.16$0.17
Moving*$0.18$0.16$0.17
Charity**$0.14$0.14$0.14
*Mileage for moving is generally only available to certain military members. This was a change as of 2018. **Unlike the other rates, the charity rate is set by law and doesn’t change with inflation.

You can learn more about how and when you can claim business miles in this guide.

Retirement Contribution Limits (Under 50)

Type202220212020
Traditional/Roth IRA$6,000$6,000$6,000
401(k) Employee Contribution$20,500$19,500$19,500
Maximum Combined 401(k) Contribution$61,000$58,000$57,000
SIMPLE IRA Employee Contribution$13,500$13,500$13,500

Retirement Contribution Limits (50+)

Type202220212020
Traditional/Roth IRA$7,000$7,000$7,000
401(k) Employee Contribution$27,000$26,000$25,500
Maximum Combined 401(k) Contribution$67,500$64,500$57,000
SIMPLE IRA Employee Contribution$17,000$13,500$13,500

Related: Everything You Need to Know About IRAs

Deductible IRA (Traditional IRA) Income Limits

The lower number is the maximum income at which you can make a full contribution. After that, your maximum contribution decreases to $0 as your income approaches the second number.

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Head of Household$68,000 to $78,000$66,000 to $76,000$65,000 to $75,000
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower$109,000 to $129,000$105,000 to $125,000$104,000 to $124,000
Married Filing Separately$1 to $9,999$1 to $9,999$1 to $9,999

Roth IRA Income Limits

The lower number is the maximum income at which you can make a full contribution. After that, your maximum contribution decreases to $0 as your income approaches the second number.

Filing Status202220212020
Single and Head of Household$129,000 to $144,000$125,000 to $140,000$124,000 to $139,000
Married Filing Jointly and Qualifying Widower$204,000 to $214,000$198,000 to $208,000$196,000 to $206,000
Married Filing Separately$1 to $9,999$1 to $9,999$1 to $9,999

Saver’s Credit Income Limits

The Saver’s Credit gives you a tax credit for up to the first $2,000 of your retirement contributions. The credit varies based on your income and filing status.

Credit Amount Single Filer202220212020
50%$20,500$19,500$19,500
20%$22,000$21,250$21,250
10%$34,000$33,000$32,500
Credit Amount Joint Filer202220212020
50%$41,000$39,000$39,000
20%$44,000$42,500$42,500
10%$68,000$66,000$65,000

To calculate your credit, take the lower of $2,000 or the amount of money you put into an IRA, 401(k), or other retirement plan. Then multiply that amount by your credit percentage. If your income is above the limit for the 10% credit, your credit is $0.

Example:

  • $5,500 retirement contribution and $35,000 income as a joint filer.
  • $2,000 is less than $5,500.
  • $2,000 x 50% = $1,000 credit.

Social Security Cutoffs

Type202220212020
Wage base (tax cap)$147,000$142,800$137,700
Full retirement age67 years66 years and 10 months66 years and 4 months
Minimum age to claim626262
Maximum payout age$707070
Earnings limit under full retirement age$19,560$18,960$18,240
Earnings limit in year reaching full retirement age$51,960$50,520$48,600

Learn more about part-time work in retirement.

Additional Tax Tips

  • Don’t let the tax tail wag the dog. It’s almost always better to increase your income even if it means paying more taxes, because you’re still keeping more.
  • Don’t skip mid-year tax planning. Many tax moves need to be completed before December 31st. If you wait until you file your tax return, it’s too late.