TAX FILING

What are the federal tax brackets for married people filing jointly in 2022?

A taxpayer’s filing status is determined by their marital status at the end of the fiscal year. The adjustments for inflation for 2022 are now available.

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What are the federal tax brackets for married people filing jointly in 2022?

The IRS has announced the annual inflation adjustments for taxpayers to use when filing their 2022 tax returns in 2023. A taxpayer’s filing status is determined by their marital status at the end of the year, 31 December, and can make a difference on how much tax liability they will have.

The IRS will still use seven tax brackets created with the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 2022, but the income limits have been increased to account for high inflation in 2021. The IRS gives several tax breaks to married couples filing jointly, but it is recommended to calculate your taxes both jointly and separately to see which works best for your situation.

Why filing jointly could be more beneficial than separately

Generally married couples that file their taxes jointly can take advantage of tax credits and deductions not available to couples that file separately. Also, even if both spouses file separately, the two will have to use the same method of recording deductions, meaning if one choses to itemize deductions, the other will have to do so too perhaps losing out on a larger standard deduction.

Tax credits and deductions not available to couples filing separately:

Despite the drawbacks of filing separately, there may be cases where a married couple can find it more advantageous to not file jointly. Especially if one spouse thinks they may need to protect themselves from potential tax liability caused by the other spouse in the case of suspected tax evasion.

2022 tax brackets

The seven brackets remain the same 10%, 12%, 22%, 24%, 32%, 35% and 37% which were set after the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. However, the income limits for the tax brackets are adjusted to reflect inflation on the cost of living. This is based on the Chained Consumer Price Index created by the Bureau of Labor Statistics through continuously tracking the changing price of a basket of goods and consumer purchasing behavior in response to that change.

The adjustment will affect more than 60 tax provisions and take effect 1 January 2022 and does not apply to the 2021 tax returns. The annual adjustment is designed to avoid “bracket creep”, when people are pushed into a higher income bracket or inflation reduces the value of other deductions or credits. So, for example instead of 10% being applied to the first $9,950 of income, it will now be applied to the first $10,275 for a married taxpayer filing separately, the same as an single filer. For a married couple filing jointly, the first $20,550 will be taxed at 10%.

2022 rates by brackets

Single filers & Married couples filing separately

  • 37% for incomes over $539,900
  • 35% for incomes over $215,950
  • 32% for incomes over $170,050
  • 24% for incomes over $89,075
  • 22% for incomes over $41,775
  • 12% for incomes over $10,275
  • 10% incomes of $10,275 or less

Married couples filing jointly

  • 37% for incomes over $647,850
  • 35% for incomes over $431,900
  • 32% for incomes over $340,100
  • 24% for incomes over $178,150
  • 22% for incomes over $83,550
  • 12% for incomes over $20,550
  • 10% for incomes of $20,550 or less

Head of Household

  • 37% for incomes over $539,900
  • 35% for incomes over $215,950
  • 32% for incomes over $170,050
  • 24% for incomes over $89,050
  • 22% for incomes over $55,900
  • 12% for incomes over $14,650
  • 10% for incomes of $14,650 or less

Standard deductions increase for 2022

Also, the standard deduction will increase in 2022 by $400 to $12,950 for single filer or married but filing separately, by $600 to $19,400 for head of households and $800 to $25,900 for married taxpayers filing jointly.

An additional standard deduction of $1,400 will apply to those who are either 65 and older or blind, and the amount doubles if both apply to a taxpayer in 2022.

Dependents that can be claimed on another person’s tax return for the 2022 fiscal year are limited to a standard deduction of either $1,150 or your earned income plus $400, whichever is greater. However, the total can't exceed the basic standard deduction for your filing status.

2022 Standard deductions

  • Single filers & Married couples filing separately – $12,950
  • Married couples filing jointly & surviving spouses – $25,900
  • Head of Household – $19,400

Income taxes are progressive

The tax brackets are progressive, so a single filer with a taxable income of $50,000, doesn’t pay 22 percent on the whole of their taxable income. They would pay 10 percent on the first $10,275 ($1,027.50), 12 percent on the income between $10,275 and $41,775 ($3,780), and then 22 percent on the remaining $8,225 ($1,809.50) for a total of $6,617 as opposed to $11,000.

Your filing status could save you extra money

There are five categories of filers and conditions apply to the one you should use to file your taxes. The main determiner is your marital status on 31 December of the year for which you are reporting taxes, that will be the one you use for the entire year. It’s possible that more than one filing status applies to you, so the IRS recommends that you use the filing status that will reduce your tax liability the most.

To help taxpayers determine which filing status applies to them the IRS has an online tool “What Is My Filing Status?

Five US filing statuses:

Single: For those who are not married, divorced or legally separated.

Married Filing Jointly: Married couples can choose to file a joint tax return. Widow(er)s can also use this in the year their spouse died.

Married Filing Separately: Married couples also have the choice of filing separately if it is more financially beneficial.

Head of Household: The IRS cautions not to choose the by mistake and special rules apply to qualify for this filing status. Generally, this status applies if you are not married and must have paid more than half the cost of keeping up a home for yourself and a qualifying person.

Qualifying Widow(er) with Dependent Child: This status is similar to married filing jointly. It is applicable for only two years and conditions apply.

For more information check the Dependents, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information in Publication 501.