2024 Tax Brackets: What You Need to Know

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In the United States, we have a tax system that is often described as complex and intricate, and rightly so. However, understanding the tax rates and tax brackets is crucial for effective financial planning. Our tax system operates on a progressive tax system, meaning tax rates increase as your income rises. This system is designed to ensure that higher-income individuals pay a higher percentage of their earnings in taxes.

Each year, the IRS adjusts the tax brackets to account for inflation and other economic factors. These adjustments determine how much income falls into each tax bracket, and it’s important to keep track of these changes to make informed financial decisions. In 2024, the IRS has made significant updates to the tax brackets, expanding them by approximately 5.4%. This expansion means you can earn more income and still be taxed at lower rates, which is generally good news for taxpayers.

Here’s a breakdown of the 2024 tax brackets:

Tax RateFor Single FilersFor Married Individuals Filing Joint ReturnsFor Heads of Households
10%$0 to $11,600$0 to $23, 200$0 to $16,550
12%$11,600 to $47,150$23,200 to $94,300$16,550 to $63,100
22%$47,150 to $100,525$94,300 to $201,050$63,100 to $100,500
24%$100,525 to $191,950$201,050 to $383,900$100,500 to $191,950
32%$191,950 to $243,725$383,900 to $487,450$191,950 to $243,700
35%$243,725 to $609,350$487,450 to $731,200$243,700 to $609,350
37%$609,350 or more$731,200 or more$609,350 or more

Comparing these brackets to previous years, we can see a substantial increase. For instance, the 12% tax bracket for 2024 surpasses $93,000, whereas just two years ago, it only went up to $83,000, meaning more individuals, especially those in retirement, may find themselves staying within the 10% or 12% tax brackets.

What does this expansion of tax brackets mean for your financial planning? It could potentially change your tax strategy. If you previously aimed to stay within the 12% tax bracket by utilizing tax deductions, the expanded brackets may automatically keep you within that lower tax range. As a result, it might make sense to consider funding Roth accounts or doing Roth conversions to take advantage of the 10% or 12% tax brackets.

Additionally, the standard deduction for 2024 has increased to $29,200 for married individuals filing jointly, up from $27,277 in 2023. This means that taking the standard deduction rather than itemizing their expenses will provide greater tax benefits for most people.

Other tax-related updates for 2024 include:

  • Higher contribution limits for 401(k), 403(b), and 457 plans rise to $23,000, up from $22,500.
  • IRA contribution limits increase from $6,500 to $7,000, with the catch-up contribution remaining at $1,000.
  • Health Savings Account (HSA) limits increased to $4,150
  • Adjustments to the annual gift tax exclusion and estate tax exemption amounts increased to $18,000 and $13.61 million, respectively. 

Understanding the 2024 tax brackets and their expansion is vital for effective financial planning. It means you can earn more income while being taxed at lower rates, potentially impacting your tax strategy. Consult with a Certified Financial Planner™ to assess how these changes affect your financial plan and make any necessary adjustments to optimize your tax situation. These updates present opportunities for savvy financial planning, so be sure to take advantage of them.

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