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Posted by Tiffany Gaskin

What is an Effective Tax Rate?

What is an Effective Tax Rate?

As a taxpayer, you may wonder how much the IRS makes from your income. You may have a rough idea of what is withheld from your paycheck but have yet to learn the term effective tax rate. 

Usually, this is the average percentage the IRS can withhold from your income. This article contains some information concerning effective tax rates; read on.

Defining Effective Tax Rate

An effective tax rate is an average amount a taxpayer pays to the federal government or IRS. The term covers the average tax on a taxpayer's earnings. An earned income is a salary or wage, while unearned income is dividends. However, an organization's effective tax rate is the average tax imposed on its taxable earnings. 

In addition, the term can be the amount the federal government takes from a person's income but with exemption from self-employment taxes, local and state taxes, and FICA taxes. However, taxpayers have the right to use the marginal tax rate to replace the effective tax rate, but either way, both terms have nothing in common. Furthermore, the effective tax rate shows the difference between two or more organizations or individuals. The law formulated the statutory tax rate percentage.   

The effective tax rate is how much money an organization or a person pays to the IRS. The average rate at which an individual's earned and unearned income is taxed is their effective tax rate.

How To Calculate the Effective Tax Rate

This is a simple formula for knowing your effective tax rate. Go to line 24 of the IRS Form 1040, where you'll see your due tax, and divide it by taxable income on line 15 of the IRS Form 1040. The portion of your gross income taxed by the IRS is the taxable income. 

However, you have to perform deductions and tax breaks before the conclusion. Generally, taxable income includes salary, wages, bonuses, tips, commissions, bank accounts, dividends, etc. To get the effective tax rate imposed on corporations, divide the tax burden by what the company makes. 

Effective Tax Rate Example

Here is an example that varies according to income, deductions, tax breaks, and other factors. So let's assume Pat Gregory makes $75,000 a year, and he's taxed $11,250. Simply divide $11,250 by $75,000, putting the effective tax rate at 15%. 

Effective Tax Rate vs. Marginal Tax Rate

As aforementioned, effective and marginal tax rates are two different things. The marginal is the highest tax rate paid on taxable income. For example, suppose you have $70,000 in taxable income; the IRS will upgrade you to the 22% tax bracket making the marginal tax area at 22%. So, if you're a taxpayer with a 35% tax rate, you're in the marginal tax rate. 

Furthermore, you can use your marginal tax rate to predict your bonus or raise but not your annual tax bill. To be clear, having a 22% tax rate doesn't mean you pay 22% of your income to the IRS because you pay only 10% or 12% on the first $41,775. Back to the sample income of $70,000, if you get a $5,000 bonus, be ready to pay an extra $1,100 unless your employer is nice enough to help.

On the other hand, the effective tax rate is easy to understand to file as tax. In addition, you can determine your annual tax bill, how to distribute your income, and form a better budget based on your earnings. 

The Bottom Line

You can use other means to file your taxes instead of the effective tax rate method. But this method will keep you on your toes regarding taxes and budgets. 



Tiffany Gaskin
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