Illustration of computers, smartphones and chat boxes, with a book icon. Text overlay: 2022 tax tables.

Apart from accountants and finance aficionados, taxes are not a to-do many people look forward to — but filing is an annual necessity and Tax Day 2022 is April 18th.

By knowing what you need beforehand, you can knock this off your to-do list in an afternoon (or faster). To make it even easier, Ally has teamed up with TurboTax® to save our customers up to $20.

This year, a few factors will make filing taxes in 2022 (for tax year 2021) a little different from previous seasons and could impact how much you might owe or how big of a refund you may receive. Of course, every individual situation may vary, and you may want to consult a tax professional for any questions on how to file or what you should include.

Here’s a few updates to get you started:

 

Federal Income Tax Brackets for 2022 Tax Season

A tax bracket is a range of incomes subject to a certain tax rate, which is determined by your filing status and taxable income for the year. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) makes adjustments every year and has announced changes that will be applied in the 2022 tax season (which will be filed in 2023). Your specific situation may not be straightforward, but a tax professional can help you determine your tax bracket.

Federal Income Tax Brackets

Here’s a look at how the federal tax brackets stack up this tax season, based on 2021 income and filing status:

Single Filers

Tax rate Federal income tax bracket Tax owed
10% $0 to $9,950 10% of taxable income
12% $9,951 to $40,525 $995 plus 12% of the amount over $9,950
22% $40,526 to $86,375 $4,664 plus 22% of the amount over $40,525
24% $86,376 to $164,925 $14,751 plus 24% of the amount over $86,375
32% $164,926 to $209,425 $33,603.50 plus 32% of the amount over $164,925
35% $209,426 to $523,600 $47,843 plus 35% of the amount over $209,425
37% $523,601 or more $157,804.25 plus 37% of the amount over $523,600

Source: IRS

 

Married Couples Filing Jointly

Tax rate Federal income tax bracket Tax owed
10% $0 to $19,900 10% of taxable income
12% $19,to 901 to $81,050 $1,990 plus 12% of the amount over $19,900
22% $81,051 to $172,750 $9,328 plus 22% of the amount over $81,050
24% $172,751 to $329,850 $29,502 plus 24% of the amount over $172,750
32% $329,851 to $418,850 $67,206 plus 32% of the amount over $329,850
35% $418,851 to $628,300 $95,686 plus 35% of the amount over $418,850
37% $628,301 or more $168,993.50 plus 37% of the amount over $628,300

 

Source: IRS

 Married Couples Filing Separately

 
Tax rate Federal income tax bracket Tax owed
10% $0 to $9,950 10% of taxable income
12% $9,951 to $40,525 $995 plus 12% of the amount over $9,950
22% $40,526 to $86,375 $4,664 plus 22% of the amount over $40,525
24% $86,376 to $164,925 $14,751 plus 24% of the amount over $86,375
32% $164,926 to $209,425 $33,603 plus 32% of the amount over $164,925
35% $209,426 to $314,150 $47,843 plus 35% of the amount over $209,425
37% $314,151 or more $84,496.75 plus 37% of the amount over $314,150

 

Source: IRS

Head of Household

Tax rate Federal income tax bracket Tax owed
10% $0 to $14,200 10% of taxable income
12% $14,201 to $54,200 $1,420 plus 12% of the amount over $14,200
22% $54,201 to $86,350 $6,220 plus 22% of the amount over $54,200
24% $86,351 to $164,900 $13,293 plus 24% of the amount over $86,350
32% $164,901 to $209,400 $32,145 plus 32% of the amount over $164,900
35% $209,401 to $523,600 $46,385 plus 35% of the amount over $209,400
37% $523,601 or more $156,355 plus 37% of the amount over $523,600

Source: IRS

 

Standard Deductions and Credits for Filing in 2021

When prepping your tax return, it pays to know the difference between tax deductions and credits, and which you’re eligible to claim. Working with a tax professional is the best way to find out what credits and deductions you qualify for.

Tax Credits

Tax credits directly lower your tax bill. For example, if you owe $1,000 in taxes and qualify for a $1,000 credit, the credit can zero out your tax liability. Some, like the Child Tax Credit, are refundable, meaning if the credit amount exceeds what you owe in taxes, you receive the difference in your refund (conversely, if your income is higher, you may need to repay some or all of the money you received).

Tax Deductions

Tax deductions reduce the amount of income that’s subject to tax. They can be above-the-line (used to calculate your adjusted gross income (AGI) or below-the-line (deducted after AGI is calculated). Above-the-line deductions include things like Individual Retirement Account (IRA) contributions and student loan interest. Below-the-line deductions are itemized deductions you claim on the Schedule A tax form, which a tax professional can help prepare.

Standard Deductions vs. Itemized Deductions

The standard deduction is a flat dollar amount you deduct based on your filing status. Your tax advisor can help you decide if a standard or itemized deduction is the right choice for your specific situation.

Standard Deductions

Filing status 2021 tax year
Single $12,550
Married, filing jointly $25,100
Married, filing separately $12,550
Head of household $18,800

Source: IRS

Itemized deductions are those you can take for individual expenses, like mortgage interest, charitable deductions or qualified medical expenses. These vary based on your own financial situation from year to year and will depend on your specific situation.

Running the numbers through a tax deduction calculator or consulting a tax professional can help you decide if you’ll benefit more from claiming the standard deduction versus itemizing or vice versa.

 

COVID-19 Tax Impact

Keep in mind if you received any type of federal aid in 2021 related to the coronavirus pandemic, it could affect your tax filing, so be sure to include this information when you file or consult with your tax professional.

Stimulus Checks

A stimulus check does not count as taxable income and doesn’t reduce your refund or increase your tax bill for the 2021 tax year. If you didn’t get a stimulus check in 2021 but you’re owed one, you should get it when you file your return by claiming the Recovery Rebate Tax Credit.

 

Retirement Plan Early Withdrawals

The CARES Act allowed distributions of up to $100,000 from a qualified retirement plan through December 31, 2020 without the 10% early withdrawal penalty. Keep in mind, while the penalty has been waived, the distribution is considered ordinary income and will increase your tax liability.

Student Loan Forbearance

In March 2020, the CARES Act allowed those with federal student loans to temporarily pause payments without accruing interest (aka loan forbearance). If you paused payments, you may have less student loan interest you can deduct on your tax return than you might have in the past.

New to Filing Taxes in 2021?

If it’s your first-time filing income taxes, there are some things to keep in mind:

The Basics

Failing to file or not paying taxes owed can trigger a tax penalty or in extreme cases, the IRS could place liens against your property or file charges, so make sure to prioritize filing on time.

The IRS offers an online tool you can use to determine if filing a federal tax return is necessary for you.

Speaking of filing status, you can choose from: Single, head of household, married filing separately, married filing jointly or qualifying widow/widower with a dependent child. If you’re not sure, a tax professional can help you determine the proper filing status for you.

Be sure to gather all necessary tax forms and maintain documentation of any income, government benefits (such as unemployment benefits), receipts on major purchases, business expenses, distributions and any gains or losses from your investments.

Reporting Investment Income

Money made from dividends or investment profits is subject to tax. But tax implications vary depending on how long you’ve owned the asset before selling. A tax profession can help you explore certain strategies, like tax-loss harvesting, that can help you lower your investment tax bill.

Steps to file taxes

You can collect your paperwork (W-2s, receipts for deductible expenses, etc.) and take it to a tax professional, who can get your tax return in order and file for you, in exchange for a fee.

Or, if you feel comfortable doing taxes on your own, you can prepare both your federal and state tax returns using an online tax filing program or by hand using paper and pencil. If you qualify, the IRS Free File program lets you file taxes for free.

While the DIY option is cheaper than hiring a tax pro, it may be more time consuming if you’re not well-versed in filing taxes.

Tax refunds

Once completed, you’ll see whether you owe a tax bill or you’re due a refund. If you’re getting a refund, direct deposit is the fastest way to get the money. The IRS aims to send refunds within 21 days of a tax return being approved.

What to do if you owe money

If you owe taxes, pay those by the tax filing deadline to avoid penalties and interest. If you owe a large sum of money to the IRS, you can set up an Installment Agreement, which doesn’t prevent penalties and interest from accruing but it can give you time to pay the IRS what you owe without fear of a lien or other consequences.

Filing Taxes Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Getting your tax return together shouldn’t be a hassle. Whether you file on your own or work with a tax professional, staying organized throughout the year is a great way to ensure that the season doesn’t sneak up on you. Happy filing!

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