Internal Revenue Service United States Department of the Treasury
Theme 3: Fairness in TaxesLesson 3: Progressive Taxes


Activity 1: Progressive Taxes and You

Progressive taxes take a larger percentage of income from individuals in high-income groups than from those in low-income groups. Progressive taxes are based on the ability to pay. How does a progressive tax affect the income of the following citizens: a lifeguard, an automotive technician, a mail carrier, a doctor, and a rock musician?

Your task is to determine what percentage of each taxpayer's total income would go toward tax in a progressive system.

U.S. Tax Brackets-2013
Single Taxpayer Rate
0- $8,925 10%
$8,925 to $36,250 15%
$36,250 to $87,850 25%
$87,850 to $183,250 28%
$183,250 to $398,350 33%
$398,350 to $400,000 35%
$400,000 and above 39.6%


Use the chart above of U.S. Tax Brackets to complete this activity. Match the salary listing the total income for each taxpayer to the percentage of income that represents the tax. Choose your answer from the drop-down menu. To assess your answers, click the Check My Answers button at the bottom of the page.


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