How has top marginal tax rate changed over the years?

Did you know that the top U.S. marginal federal income tax bracket rate reached its highest point in history when the government raised it to 94% in 1944? At that time, the 94% tax rate applied to any income over $199,999. In today’s dollars, that is equivalent to any income over $2,609,022.

Today, the top marginal tax rate is 39.6%. This increases to 43.4% when you add in the 3.8% Medicare surcharge tax, and it applies to any income over $464,850 for a married filing jointly couple or $413,200 if you file as a single taxpayer. While the top rate today may seem high to today’s top income earners, it is actually low when you look at the average top marginal rate over time. Since 1913, the average top marginal rate has been 58.1%.