marginal tax rate

The rate at which income over a certain amount is taxed. Although in general, graduated income taxes impose higher tax rates on higher incomes, the tax rate does not rise for each additional dollar earned. Rather, it rises by income brackets, and each tax rate applies only to income that falls in that bracket. For example, in 2002, the highest marginal federal tax rate was 38.5 percent, which for single taxpayers was imposed on income in excess of $54,000.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.