US tax rates have changed wildly since 1913 when the current federal income tax program was first introduced. The above interactive chart shows the difference in rates over time, using data from the Tax Foundation. Enter your taxable income—what you’ve earned minus all of your deductions (not including capital gains)—pick a filing status, and you can see your personal income tax history of the United States. The effective tax rate shown is what you pay in federal income taxes divided by your taxable income. It doesn’t take into account credits or deductions you may be eligible for, nor does it reflect changes to your eligibility for tax breaks over the past century.
The US uses a system of graduated income taxes. Everyone’s first $8,700 is taxed at 10%, your next $26,649 is taxed at 15%, and so on up to $388,350, at which point every additional dollar earned is taxed at 35%. So, as detailed below, someone who made $1.5 million in 2012 would pay $501,759, or 33.5%, in federal taxes. Again, that’s not accounting for deductions or credits, which would likely reduce the effective tax rate.
If you’re not one of the Warren Buffetts of the world, you can click on the $10m button above to see how the top rates have changed over time.