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What Is Federal Income Tax?

There are numerous types of taxes that most working people end up having to pay. These taxes can be levied by the government at all levels from local to federal. The income tax is one that is levied by the federal government each year on all earners of what is considered taxable income. This includes, not just your basic salary or wages, but also commissions, tips, bonuses, investment income and other kinds of unearned income.


How does federal income tax work?

Federal income tax is just one form of taxation that the federal government collects from individuals as well as businesses. The amount you are taxed is based on a specified percentage of the taxable income you have earned during the particular tax reporting period. The percentage of your income that you are required to pay in federal income tax will depend on how much you earn.

Progressive tax brackets

Rates charged for federal income tax are based on a progressive taxation scheme. This means that the higher your income the higher percentage of your income you will be required to pay in taxes. The various levels of income tax are divided into what are known as tax brackets. 

The lowest tax bracket for the 2022 tax year for single individual filers is the 10% bracket. This income bracket is for people who make $10,275 per year or less. If you fall within this tax bracket you will be charged 10% of your income by the federal government. The next bracket higher would be taxed at 12% for those earning between $10,275 and $41,775 during the tax period. At the top is the 37% tax bracket for those earning $539,900 or more.


Does Social Security count as income?

Benefits from Social Security are not considered gross income for tax purposes. However, you still may end up owing federal income tax on your benefits received, depending on how high your combined income is. The IRS calculates your combined income by adding your adjusted gross income (AGI), Social Security benefits and nontaxable interest. 

Those whose combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000 may end up taxed on up to 50% of Social Security benefits. You can be taxed on up to 85% of your benefits if combined income is more than $34,000.


What is federal income tax used for?

The federal government collects income tax and other forms of taxation in order to provide social services that you benefit from on a daily basis. Some of these services include infrastructure such as roads and bridges. It can also include pensions and benefits for government workers, Social Security benefits, Medicare and Medicaid. Federal income taxes contribute to funding assistance for lower income households, emergency relief, national defense, utilities and public transportation.  

When you utilize or benefit from these programs or services you may want to remember that paying your federal income tax helps make these things possible for you and everybody else. Therefore, be sure to file and pay your federal income taxes in a timely manner. This can also help to avoid incurring late fees and penalties.


This commentary on this website reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the Sweet Financial Partners, LLC employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Sweet Financial Partners, LLC or performance returns of any Sweet Financial Partners, LLC client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Sweet Financial Partners, LLC manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.
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