Do You Know How Income Taxes Are Calculated?

This is the first of a series of 2007 Tax reference sheets that I’ll be sharing with you over the next month or so. This one focuses on some of the major federal income tax key numbers. I’ll do future ones for estate planning, retirement planning and business planning in the not too distant future so stay tuned.

Since federal income taxes are such a large part of most peoples life or expenditures, I thought that you might like a summary or reference sheet for some of the important figures for 2007.

Many people believe that if someone is in the 28% tax bracket, they pay all taxes due at the rate of 28% of taxable income. This is not correct. A couple having a taxable income of $125,000 does not pay 25% federal income tax on ALL of the taxable income… but only on everything over $63,700. The first $15,650 is only taxed at 10%, the taxable income from $15,560-$63,700 would be taxed at 15% and so on. The figures below is taxable income (after deductions and exemptions).

I’ll start out with the tax brackets for the 2007 tax year.
The figures below show the various “steps” on how the
marginal income brackets are progressively taxed higher.

Married, Filing Jointly:

$zero – $15,650 is taxed at 10%
$15,650 – $63,700 is taxed at 15%
$63,700 – $128,500 is taxed at 25%
$128,500 – $195,850 is taxed at 28%
$195,850 – $349,700 is taxed at 33%
over $349,700 is taxed at 35%

Married, Filing Separately:

Note: Often times it make more sense for a married couple to file taxes separately for either tax reduction strategies or for non-tax reasons. Your tax advisor should help you decide if there are important reasons for YOU to take advantage of this filing status.

Tax brackets for Married Filing Separately: Simply cut the above taxable figures in half for those six tax brackets


$zero – $7,825 is taxed at 10%
$7,825 – $31,850 is taxed at 15%
$31,850 – $77,100 is taxed at 25%
$77,100 – $160,850 is taxed at 28%
$160,850 – $349,700 is taxed at 33%
over $349,700 is taxed at 35%

Single, Head of Household:

$zero – $11,200 is taxed at 10%
$11,200 – $42,650 is taxed at 15%
$42,650 – $110,100 is taxed at 25%
$110,100 – $178,350 is taxed at 28%
$178,350 – $349,700 is taxed at 33%
over $349,700 is taxed at 35%

Standard Deduction:

Standard Deduction is ONLY for those who do NOT itemize expenses like mortgage interest, charitable contributions, etc.

Married, Filing Jointly: $10,700
Married, Filing Separately: $ 5,350
Single: $ 5,350
Single, Head of Household: $ 7,850

Those who are blind or over age 65 can ADD $1,050 (if married) or $1,300 (if single or head of household) to the above Standard Deductions

Personal Exemptions:

Personal Exemptions are set at $3,400 per allowed person subject to Phaseouts (which are reductions in the Exemptions) based on taxable income. This is not an issue unless your taxable income is at least $117,300 (depending on filing status).

Maximum taxable EARNED income subject to FICA tax: $97,500

The Social Security and Medicare combined tax rate is 15.3% on income up to that figure. W-2 employees pay half of the 15.3% and employers pay the other half. Self-employed pay the whole amount.

Long-term Capital Gains and Qualified Dividend Rates:
For those in the 10% and 15% Income tax brackets only: 5%
For taxpayers in the higher tax backets: 15%
Capital gains on collectibles (coins, stamps, etc.) 28%

One of the important functions of a financial advisor is to help reduce taxes to your legal minimum due by using all appropriate deductions, methods and strategies. A good tax advisor is worth their weight in gold! So go find a pro-active tax advisor, not someone who just files tax returns.

And now, hopefully you will have a better idea of what that person is talking about.



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