Estimate Your Tax Bracket

Having a rough idea of your tax bracket can help you estimate the tax impact of major financial decisions.

Have you ever been asked for your approximate tax bracket by an advisor, attorney, financial provider, or even a Fidelity representative? Knowing your tax bracket can be useful in many scenarios, including when you open new accounts.

While your tax bracket won't tell you exactly how much you'll pay in taxes, it can help you assess the tax impact of financial decisions. For instance, if you're in the 35% tax bracket, you could save 35 cents in federal tax for every dollar spent on a tax-deductible expense, such as mortgage interest or charity.

Marginal tax rate: Your tax bracket explained

A common misconception is that your marginal tax rate is the rate at which your entire income is taxed. So someone in the 35% tax bracket pays 35% in taxes.

In actuality, income is taxed in tiers. When your income reaches a different tier, that portion of your income is taxed at a new rate. Your marginal tax rate or tax bracket refers only to your highest tax rate—the last tax rate your income is subject to.

Consider this hypothetical scenario for tax year 2017: You have a taxable income of $100,000 and you're married, filing jointly.

  • The first $18,650 of your income will be taxed in the 10% tax bracket, resulting in $1,865 in taxes.
  • The next tier of your income—$57,249 ($75,900 minus $18,651)—will be taxed in the 15% tax bracket, resulting in $8,587.35 in taxes.
  • The remainder of your income—$24,099 ($100,000 minus $75,901) —will be taxed at 25%, resulting in $6,024.75 in taxes.

While your total tax bill came out to $16,477.10 (roughly 16% of your income), your marginal tax rate is 25%—the highest tax rate your income was subject to.

Estimating taxable income

Since your tax bracket is based on taxable income, it's important to have an estimate of your income.

Start with your last filing. You can then adjust your income based on any anticipated changes.

You can find your taxable income on:

  • Line 43, if you filed Form 1040.
  • Line 27, if you filed Form 1040A.
  • Line 6, if you filed Form 1040EZ.

2017 tax brackets

Rate Individuals Married filing jointly
(or Qualifying Widow[er])
Married filing separately Filing as head of household
10% $0–$9,325 $0–$18,650 $0–$9,325 $0–$13,350
15% $9,326–$37,950 $18,651–$75,900 $9,326–$37,950 $13,351–$50,800
25% $37,951–$91,900 $75,901–$153,100 $37,951–$76,550 $50,801–$131,200
28% $91,901–$191,650 $153,101–$233,350 $76,551–$116,675 $131,201–$212,500
33% $191,651–$416,700 $233,351–$416,700 $116,676–$208,350 $212,501–$416,700
35% $416,701–$418,400 $416,701–$470,700 $208,351–$235,350 $416,701–$444,500
39.6% $418,401+ $470,701+ $300,001+ $444,501+

2018 tax brackets

Rate Individuals Married filing jointly
(or Qualifying Widow[er])
Married filing separately Filing as head of household
10% $0–$9,525 $0–$19,050 $0–$9,525 $0–$13,600
12% $9,526–$38,700 $19,051–$77,400 $9,526–$38,700 $13,601–$51,800
22% $38,701–$82,500 $77,401–$165,000 $38,701–$82,500 $51,801–$82,500
24% $82,501–$157,500 $165,001–$315,000 $82,501–$157,500 $82,501–$157,500
32% $157,501–$200,000 $315,001–$400,000 $157,501–$200,000 $157,501–$200,000
35% $200,001–$500,000 $400,001–$600,000 $200,001–$300,000 $200,001–$500,000
37% $500,001+ $600,001+ $300,001+ $500,001 +

Additional resources

Tax Topics for Investors
Learn about some of the tax topics that affect Fidelity customers the most.

Tax resources

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