# Effective Tax Rate: How It's Calculated and How It Works

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## Definition of 'Effective Tax Rate: How It's Calculated and How It Works'

The effective tax rate is the percentage of your income that is actually paid in taxes. It is calculated by dividing your total tax liability by your taxable income. Your taxable income is your gross income minus any deductions or credits.

The effective tax rate is different from the marginal tax rate, which is the tax rate you pay on each additional dollar of income. The marginal tax rate can change as your income increases, but the effective tax rate will stay the same unless you make changes to your deductions or credits.

There are a few things to keep in mind when calculating your effective tax rate. First, you need to make sure you are using the correct tax brackets. The tax brackets are based on your filing status, which is either single, married filing jointly, married filing separately, head of household, or qualifying widow(er). Second, you need to include all of your income, including wages, interest, dividends, capital gains, and other sources. Third, you need to take into account all of your deductions and credits.

The effective tax rate can be a helpful tool for understanding how much you are actually paying in taxes. It can also be used to compare your tax situation to others in your income bracket. However, it is important to remember that the effective tax rate is just one way to measure your tax burden. It does not take into account other factors, such as the benefits you receive from government programs.

Here is an example of how to calculate the effective tax rate:

Let's say you are a single filer with a taxable income of \$50,000. Your tax liability is \$10,000. Your effective tax rate is 20% (\$10,000 / \$50,000).

Now, let's say you make an additional \$10,000 in income. Your taxable income is now \$60,000. Your tax liability is \$15,000. Your marginal tax rate is 25% (\$5,000 / \$10,000). However, your effective tax rate is still 20% (\$15,000 / \$60,000).

This example shows that the effective tax rate can stay the same even when your marginal tax rate increases. This is because your deductions and credits may also increase as your income increases.

The effective tax rate is a useful tool for understanding your tax burden. However, it is important to remember that it is just one way to measure your tax situation. It does not take into account other factors, such as the benefits you receive from government programs.

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