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What Is a Breadwinner?

A breadwinner is a conversational term for the primary or sole income earner in a household. Breadwinners, by contributing the biggest portion of household income, generally cover most household expenses and monetarily support their dependents.

Grasping a Breadwinner

The term breadwinner is sometimes used to allude to single-income families in which one of the individuals attempts to generate income and different stays at home to care for dependents. In different circumstances, a household might be a double income household however have just a single breadwinner.

In double income households, the breadwinner is the one with the more profitable and monetarily sound job. The other income earner, who might be working parttime or can stand to leave the labor force, is essentially "procuring," yet not really a breadwinner.

Breadwinner as Head of Household

For tax purposes, a breadwinner might file their taxes as head of household. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) characterizes head of household as a single or unmarried taxpayer who pays no less than half of the costs of supporting a household and offers help to other qualifying family individuals residing under a similar rooftop for the greater part of the year.

This means that the breadwinner must have paid the greater part of the total household bills, including rent or mortgage, utility bills, insurance, property taxes, food, and repairs. A few instances of qualifying family individuals incorporate a dependent child, grandchild, sibling, sister, grandparent, or any other person you can claim as a exemption.

Heads of households benefit from a lower tax rate. For example, in 2021, the 12% tax bracket applies to single filers with a adjusted gross income (AGI) of somewhere in the range of $9,950 and $40,525 for the tax year (expanding to $10,275 and $41,775 in 2022). The 12% tax bracket for heads of households, in the mean time, applies to AGI that falls somewhere in the range of $14,201 and $54,200 (expanding to $14,650 and $55,900 in 2022). At the end of the day, an individual that procures $50,000 will pay 12% income tax as a head of household and 22% if filing as a single individual.

For 2021, the head of household standard deduction is $18,800 (expanding to $19,400 in 2022), which is essentially higher than the $12,550 (expanding to $12,950 in 2022) standard deduction single filers and married individuals who file separate returns can claim. Married taxpayers who file joint returns get a $25,100 deduction (expanding to $25,900 in 2022). This works out as a $12,550 deduction for every one of them, actually well below the head of household amount.

Married Breadwinner Filing Jointly or Separately

Tax law was intended to benefit married couples with one principal breadwinner and one stay-at-home spouse. On the off chance that one spouse isn't working or was starting a business and had losses, the couple will benefit when filing jointly.

A married taxpayer who is the breadwinner of the household might decide to file taxes jointly with their spouse, instead of separately, to reduce the tax liability. Breadwinners might observe that they are in a higher tax bracket assuming they file taxes separately — the higher the tax bracket, the higher the tax bill.

As you can find in the table below, a breadwinner who procures $78,000 in annual income and files jointly with a stay-at-home spouse will pay 12%. Ought to, notwithstanding, a similar breadwinner decide to file separately, the tax rate applied to this income would be 22% all things considered.

2021 Tax Brackets
 Tax Rate Married Filing Jointly Married Filing Separately
  10%$0 - $19,900$0 - $9,950
  12%$19,901 - $81,050$9,951 - $40,525
  22%$81,051 - $172,750$40,526 - $86,375
  24%$172,751 - $329,850$86,376 - $164,925
  32%$329,851 - $418,850$164,926 - $209,425
  35%$418,851 - $628,300$209,426 - $523,600
  37%$628,301 +$523,601 +
Source: Internal Revenue Service

There are times when filing separately from a spouse checks out, for example, when one person has costly costs connected with deductions in view of AGI. For example, medical expenses must be deducted assuming that they surpass 7.5% of your AGI. Assuming a spouse has high medical bills, the joint income might be high sufficient that the breadwinner can't exploit that deduction. In such cases, filing separately may be fitting.


  • Contingent upon how income is delivered, taxes imposed on the breadwinner(s) can contrast.
  • A breadwinner is a person an in the lion's in a household share of income and subsequently supports the family monetarily.
  • Today, breadwinners can be ladies or men, or both together.
  • In the past, the breadwinner alluded predominantly to a single-income family where the other spouse stayed at home.


What Is a Head of Household?

Head of household is a qualifier designated by the Internal Revenue Service that alludes to an individual in a home that is single or unmarried, pays half or a greater amount of expenses, and has dependents. A head of household pays lower taxes than an ordinary single filer and has higher standard deductions.

Why Is It Called a "Breadwinner"?

The term is remembered to have originated in the U.K. during the 1820s. At that point, and even today, bread is viewed as a staple food thing. In that capacity, the person who brought home the bulk of the money for a family, in this way, was bringing back the bread, in a manner of speaking.

What Is a Qualifying Dependent for Head of Household?

A qualifying dependent for a head of household is most frequently a child. This can be a natural child or step-child, nonetheless, it doesn't just need to be a child. It very well may be a kin, step-kin, a niece or nephew, and overall anybody that is dependent on you.