How to Use the IRS Tax Rate Table

The tax rate tables simplify the process of calculating your income taxes.
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If you're filing your taxes by hand, you don't have a computer program to calculate your taxes for you. However, you don't have to be a math genius to calculate your liability -- the IRS created tax tables to determine your tax bill for you. To use the tables, you need to know your taxable income and filing status.

Calculating Your Taxes Due

To figure your taxes due from the tax rate tables, find the row that contains your taxable income. The two columns on the left show the income amounts that each row applies to. For example, if your taxable income is $35,010, you would find the row from $35,000 to $35,050. Then, find the column that has your filing status. Where the row for your taxable income and the column for your filing status intersect is your tax liability.

Taxable Income

Your taxable income equals your total income for the year minus your adjustments to income. Those adjustments include either your standard deduction or the sum of your itemized deductions, as well as the value of the personal exemptions you claim on your return. You can find your taxable income on line 6 of Form 1040EZ, line 27 of Form 1040A or line 43 of Form 1040.

Filing Status

Different tax rates apply for different filing statuses, so picking the correct one ensures that you pay what you owe. For example, lower rates apply to income for couples who file a joint return than for single taxpayers. If you file as a qualifying widow or widower with a dependent child, use the married filing jointly column.

Higher Incomes

As of the 2014 tax year, the income tax tables stop at $100,000 of taxable income. If you have more than $100,000 of taxable income, you must use the IRS's tax computation worksheet, found at the end of the Form 1040 Tax Tables. To use the worksheet, first time the table that covers your filing status. Within that table, find the row that includes your income and enter your taxable income in column (a). Multiply it by the rate in column (b) and enter the result in column (c). Finally, subtract the amount in column (d) to figure your tax liability.