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In determining effective tax rate,the numerator is the tax owed and the denominator is the taxable income, correct? I saw this formula online, plugged the numbers in and was surprised to see it was 31%! Just wanted to check to see if I am doing this correctly.

When I calculate my effective tax rate, I simply do total tax / gross income from all sources.

Also to do a back of the envelope calculation of how different part time jobs might affect my taxes or eliminating the mortgage or increasing charitable donations might affect my taxes is it better to go with the effective tax rate or marginal rate?

Since deductions come off the top, the savings are at your marginal rate. Think of it this way, if you're in the 33% bracket, that last $100 costs you $33 in tax. Adding another $100 of income costs an additional $33. Taking $100 in deductions saves you $33 in tax. Just keep in mind, if you are close to a threshold where the tax rate changes, movement across the threshold changes the calculation by blending the tax rates.
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