What Are the Income Tax Brackets for 2018?

Rocky Mengle, Tax Editor
Many taxpayers will be in a lower tax bracket when they file their 2018 tax return. However, the marriage penalty could still burn high-income couples.

A key feature of the new tax law is lower tax rates for most Americans. There are still seven tax brackets, but the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act dropped the rate for five of them for 2018. The new 2018 rates are now 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% after tax reform. You'll use the new rates for the first time when filing tax returns for 2018, which are due to the IRS by April 15, 2019 (April 17 if you live in Maine or Massachusetts). The old 2017 rates were 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 33%, 35% and 39.6%.

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There's more good news. The taxable income range for each 2018 bracket was also tweaked. In most cases, the new tax rate kicks in at a higher income level. This means more taxpayers will fall into a lower bracket starting with their 2018 returns.

2018 Tax Brackets for Single/Married Filing Jointly

Tax Rate Taxable Income
(Single) Taxable Income
(Married)

10% Up to $9,525 Up to $19,050
12% $9,526 to $38,700 $19,051 to $77,400
22% $38,701 to $82,500 $77,401 to $165,000
24% $82,501 to $157,500 $165,001 to $315,000
32% $157,501 to $200,000 $315,001 to $400,000
35% $200,001 to $500,000 $400,001 to $600,000
37% Over $500,000 Over $600,000

The "marriage penalty" is also minimized under the new tax law. This tax-law twist makes certain couples - typically, those whose incomes are similar - filing a joint return pay more tax than they would if they were single. It's triggered when, for any given rate, the minimum taxable income for joint filers is less than twice the amount for single filers. Before the new tax law, this happened in the four highest tax brackets, which meant that couples with a combined taxable income over $153,100 were susceptible to the penalty. After tax reform, only the top bracket contains the marriage penalty trap. As a result, only couples with a combined taxable income over $600,000 are at risk when filing their 2018 tax return.

2018 Tax Brackets for Married Filing Separately/Head of Household

Tax Rate Taxable Income
(Married Separate) Taxable Income
(Head of Household)

10% Up to $9,525 Up to $13,600
12% $9,526 to $38,700 $13,601 to $51,800
22% $38,701 to $82,500 $51,801 to $82,500
24% $82,501 to $157,500 $82,501 to $157,500
32% $157,501 to $200,000 $157,501 to $200,000
35% $200,001 to $300,000 $200,001 to $500,000
37% Over $300,000 Over $500,000

Looking forward, the new tax law also affects how the brackets will be indexed for inflation each year after 2018. Previously, the brackets were adjusted based on the standard Consumer Price Index. However, some economists believe the old formula doesn't fully account for changes in spending as prices rise, so lawmakers adopted a "chained" CPI formula for post-2018 adjustments. This will result in lower inflation adjustments to the tax brackets in the years ahead.

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Finally, for comparison's sake, here are the old tax brackets from 2017:

2017 Tax Brackets for Single/Married Filing Jointly

Tax Rate Taxable Income
(Single) Taxable Income
(Married)

10% Up to $9,325 Up to $18,650
15% $9,326 to $37,950 $18,651 to $75,900
25% $37,951 to $91,900 $75,901 to $153,100
28% $91,901 to $191,650 $153,101 to $233,350
33% $191,651 to $416,700 $233,351 to $416,700
35% $416,701 to $418,400 $416,701 to $470,700
39.60% Over $418,400 Over $470,700

2017 Tax Brackets for Married Filing Separately/Head of Household

Tax Rate Taxable Income
(Married Separate) Taxable Income
(Head of Household)

10% Up to $9,325 Up to $13,350
15% $9,326 to $37,950 $13,351 to $50,800
25% $37,951 to $76,550 $50,801 to $131,200
28% $76,551 to $116,675 $131,201 to $212,500
33% $116,676 to $208,350 $212,501 to $416,700
35% $208,351 to $235,350 $416,701 to $444,550
39.60% Over $235,350 Over $444,550

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