Basic Tax Rate

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When calculating federal income tax, each tax bracket has a basic tax rate assigned to it. For example, for most unmarried individual taxpayers in the 2011 tax year, the federal income tax bracket that includes taxable income between $34,500 and $83,600 has a basic tax rate of 25 percent. Therefore, income falling within those amounts would be taxed at 25%. If the filer's taxable income is $50,000, then $15,500 falls inside that bracket ($50,000 less $34,500) and would be taxed at 25% for a tax payment of $3,875. The first $34,500 of income is taxed at lower basic tax rates.