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If you want to know what the 2014 tax brackets are, you'll find that information here. But be careful -- many people view them incorrectly. Your tax rate probably isn't what you're assuming it is.

It's easy to assume that if you earn a certain income, you're in one particular tax bracket. The truth, though, is that most of us are in several brackets. The following breakdowns of the actual 2014 tax brackets might make that clearer -- pick your tax filing status and follow that column down to where your income tops out:

2014 Tax Brackets

Single Filers

Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow/Widower

Married Filing Separately

Head of Household

10%

On taxable income up to $9,075

On taxable income up to $18,150

On taxable income up to $9,075

On taxable income up to $12,950

15%

On taxable income from $9,076 to $36,900

On taxable income from$18,151 to $73,800

On taxable income from $9,076 to $36,900

On taxable income from $12,951 to $49,400

25%

On taxable income from $36,901 to $89,350

On taxable income from $73,801 to $148,850

On taxable income from $36,901 to $74,425

On taxable income from $49,401 to $127,550

28%

On taxable income from $89,351 to $186,350

On taxable income from $148,851 to $226,850

On taxable income from $74,426 to $113,425, plus

On taxable income from $127,551 to $206,600

33%

On taxable income from $186,351 to $405,100

On taxable income from $226,851 to $405,100

On taxable income from $113,426 to $202,550, plus

On taxable income from $206,601 to $405,100

35%

On taxable income from $405,101 to $406,750

On taxable income from $405,101 to $457,600

On taxable income from $202,551 to $228,800, plus

On taxable income from $405,101 to $432,200

39.6%

On taxable income of $406,751 or more

On taxable income of $457,601 or more

On taxable income of $228,801 or more

On taxable income of $432,201 or more

Imagine you're a single filer with $50,000 in taxable income. Among the 2014 tax brackets, you're technically in the 25% bracket. But contrary to what many folks think, your entire income is not taxed at 25%. Review the whole column for single filers, and you'll see that the first $9,075 of your income is taxed at just 10%, and the next $27,825 is taxed at 15%. It's only the income above $36,900 that's taxed at 25%. Thus, if you hear someone grumbling about being in the 39.6% tax bracket, know that it's only his or her income above $406,750 that's being taxed at that rate.

The IRS makes things simple (though intimidating to look at!) with a long set of tables (link opens PDF). This is the latest one available, showing the tax brackets for last year. Look up the tax that someone with $45,000 in taxable income will pay -- it's $7,185 if they're single. That income level will have them in the 25% tax bracket, but divide $7,185 by $45,000 and you'll see that the actual overall tax rate for that taxpayer is just 16%. At TaxAct.com, you can enter various taxable incomes and see which 2014 tax brackets apply and what the overall effective tax rate is. For example, someone earning $500,000 will be in the 39.6% bracket, but their effective tax rate will be 31%.

So go ahead and review the 2014 tax brackets, but don't ever worry that earning a little more will kick you into a higher bracket. The first dollar that places you in the 35% tax bracket, for example, will only cost you $0.35.

Longtime Fool specialist Selena Maranjian, whom you can follow on Twitter, has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.


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