Thursday, April 10, 2014
Series 7 exam candidates scour the web for Series 7 exam sample questions. Let's take a look at the kind of question you might see on your Series 7 exam: Which of the following statements accurately explains an investor's "marginal tax rate"? A. It is the rate applied to qualified dividends and long-term capital gains B. It is the rate of tax paid on the last dollar of income earned C. It is the rate applied to all of the investor's ordinary income for the year D. It is the average rate of taxes paid, calculated by dividing taxes paid by taxable income EXPLANATION: as always, take whatever you are given in the question and use it to eliminate answer choices. Choice A is trying to confuse you--investors might pay 15% or 20% (or even 0%) on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains, but they don't pay their marginal rate. A is eliminated. B looks good, but let's make sure. Choice C doesn't have it right, either--if somebody makes enough money to be pushed into the 33% bracket, that rate only applies to some of his income. C is eliminated. And, Choice D is defining the investor's effective tax rate. Choice B is the answer. An investor who tops out in the 33% bracket also pays 10, 15, 25, and 28% on various swaths of his income. He pays 33% on the "last dollar of income earned."