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Why do married people pay substantially less taxes than Single people or unmarried couples ?

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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:19 AM
Original message
Why do married people pay substantially less taxes than Single people or unmarried couples ?
Edited on Sat May-15-10 12:20 AM by UndertheOcean
Isn't that discrimination against people who just want to live together and not marry ?

Tax deductions for Kids I understand , but not for two adults . It is almost like a government subsidy for the institution of marriage, which does not make sense to me.

Heck , If I marry my roomie I would be getting $7000 extra a year ,we actually joked about that yesterday, I can do a lot with that change , use it towards school debt and what not . There you go , it is a government induced incentive to tie the knot, shouldn't government be out of peoples personal business.
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U4ikLefty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:21 AM
Response to Original message
1. Oh yeah!!!
:popcorn:
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. This too is a sensitive topic at DU ? jeez , what's not ?
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:24 AM
Response to Original message
3. You have a good point. I would like to hear (read) the counter argument. nt
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QC Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:25 AM
Response to Original message
4. The world is dangerously underpopulated, so we must
encourage coupling and childbirth.
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:26 AM
Response to Original message
5. I agree but this may well incite the "fifth rail" kind of arguments
As we have an aging population that will increasingly be either never married or single through divorce or loss of partner, these tax breaks for marrieds are going to take a considerable toll. These policies were based on outdated social policies if you ask me.
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Greyhound Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 02:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
54. Just about our entire social structure and mores are based on 19th century ignorance and
misconceptions, prejudice, and bigotry. Thus the serf mentality and willful ignorance that is so culturally prevalent.


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WeDidIt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:28 AM
Response to Original message
6. Tax code has always been used to drive social agendas.
The break in the married tables was originally used to drive social coupling in stable relationships, theoretically.

Now, it would be political suicide to alter the situation.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:33 AM
Response to Reply #6
10. And they were created when it was assumed there was only
one member of the couple was a wage earner. So it was to lessen the blow of an individual to go from only supporting himself with his income to supporting a wife as well (and the assumption was the man was the sole wage earner.)

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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 02:24 AM
Response to Reply #10
29. That makes sense. nt
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
7. Go for it, marry your roomy, enjoy all that extra money. nt
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:43 AM
Response to Reply #7
13. But that would be fraud :)
Edited on Sat May-15-10 12:43 AM by UndertheOcean
Plus it would be a huge inconvenience, what if any of us finds a soul mate within the next couple of years . Nah , not worth the trouble.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:55 AM
Response to Reply #13
17. Only if you really didn't mean it.
But yeah, it's not really worth the trouble if you don't mean it. And even then it's a lot of trouble.
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Codeine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:24 AM
Response to Reply #13
26. How is it fraud?
The law just says you've gotta be married, not in love. shit, most marriages would be fraud if that were a requirement.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 02:38 AM
Response to Reply #26
30. Bazinga!
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westerebus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:31 AM
Response to Original message
8. Compensation.
For leaving the toilet seat up or down depending on your gender. ;-)
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yodoobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
9. same reason some married couples pay substantially MORE than some unmarried couples
Edited on Sat May-15-10 12:34 AM by yodoobo
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_penalty

The tax code is "lumpy" and how lots of unintended consequences and flat out unfairness in some places.



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Ozymanithrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:38 AM
Response to Original message
11. it is a government subsidy for the institution of marriage.
Because it is written into tax law, it is one of the reason why Gays and Lesbians should be able to marry. Everyone should have equal access under the law.

If you just marry your roomy for the tax incentive, that is OK, as long as you remember that it doesn't apply to same sex couples in states where they can not marry, and you have to go through a divorce to separate should you decide to get a different room mate.
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laughingliberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #11
49. And you illustrate exactly why some politicians oppose gay marriage.
It is always about the money. Legalizing gay marriage would decrease tax revenue. They use the religiously insane to push their agenda but it is always about the money.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:42 AM
Response to Original message
12. they don't always
It depends on how close their incomes are. I've had years when we saved money by filing separately, even though certain breaks weren't allowed for people filing in that status.

When the two people in the marriage make very different incomes, the couple usually saves money filing jointly ...
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:54 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. I don't believe this.
Show me.

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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #16
22. If a husband and wife both make 30,000
Then married filing jointly their combined gross income would be 60000. With an 18700 deduction, their taxable income would be 41300, and they would owe a tax of 5364.

If they were single they would each have a $9350 deduction, for a taxable income of 20,500 and a tax of 2684. That would mean the two of them would pay 5368 between the two of them. So the savings for the married couple comes out to four bucks.

On the other hand, two incomes of 20k and 40k would, if filing "Single," owe a combined tax of $7370, so in that case the married couple would save over $2000.

If you have disparate incomes, the savings can be sizable (and the bigger the difference, the bigger the savings). But if you have similar incomes, the savings are not substantial.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 09:46 AM
Response to Reply #22
45. Yup. I can attest.
Relatively speaking, we made out much better (apart from the whole "not having money" part) when I didn't have an income and Mrs. Robb did.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 04:14 PM
Response to Reply #22
57. That is where it matter. The larger the disparity between incomes the more "marrigage tax cut".
For most households where both persons work there is little or no marriage tax cut.

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yodoobo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:38 AM
Response to Reply #16
27. definitely true
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage_penalty

Tax codes have changed since when I got married, but I definitely got hit with it back in the early 1990s
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Tunkamerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:08 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. to even have the option is unfair.
a single person does not have that option. perhaps if you're married you shouldn't be able to file separately.
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fishwax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:17 AM
Response to Reply #19
24. in those years, we still paid more than we would have if we were single
so it isn't as though we had a benefit that single people didn't have.
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dems_rightnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 08:10 AM
Response to Reply #19
40. Married filing separately is rarely a savings
Almost never.
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Sgent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #19
43. Married Filing Separately (MFS)
are severely restricted in what deductions they can get, so although a couple with 150,000 / 30,000 could MFS, it will almost always be higher taxwise than two unmarried individuals filling separate returns. This is the marrige penalty.

Especially at upper incomes, married couples usually pay higher taxes than two singles.
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Junkie Brewster Donating Member (301 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #12
39. Amen. I'm married and we have to file married but separately
My husband makes about 15K more than me, FWIW.
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
14. Duh. The tax codes were pretty much set up by cons. You know, the conservitves of the world.
Be they Dem or Repuke. The idea was to encourage you heathens living in sin to mend your ways and make it legal. If not, no tax break for you.

Now. Since you're all nice and married we'll give you another incentive. Pump out a couple of kids, and voila! more tax breaks! After all, after the BIG WAR we lost a lot of our nice white boys fighting for freedom, so we need to have more of you to fight the next BIG WAR!

So, quit living in sin and get married and procreate!

Oh. BTW. We don't like gay people. You don't get the same benefits. OK, if you have a kid, we'll get you a tax break on that, but are we going to make it hard to have that kid!

Understand now?

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Old Troop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 12:53 AM
Response to Original message
15. Probably because they are doing God's work.
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:00 AM
Response to Original message
18. The deductions for kids is unfair too. Why should others help pay for their lifestyle choices?
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:22 AM
Response to Reply #18
25. I think after three kids there shouldnt be any deductions...
I'd say that having two kids, replacement population, should probably be encouraged. I'd even go out and say that it should probably be okay to have a 3rd if say you had two girls or two boys and were trying to get one of the other sex. However I think having more than 3 children is a luxury and society shouldnt be paying for them.
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tritsofme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 04:08 AM
Response to Reply #18
37. So the kids can grow up and help finance your lifestyle choice
of living past age 65.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #37
46. LOL +1 nt
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #37
47. Fine with me for them to not pay for it provided I no longer have to pay for their education
and the health care for the poor ones. But I wasn't talking about funding social programs, I was talking about two people working the same job and one keeping more of their pay because they made the lifestyle choice of raising children.
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Ikonoklast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 01:16 PM
Response to Reply #47
50. And who paid for YOUR education?
Gonna pay them back?


Thought not.
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RB TexLa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 01:21 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. I said I wasn't talking about the funding of social programs. I was talking
about tax deductions.
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Tunkamerica Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
20. i agree
and yes, i am single. If i were married perhaps i would feel differently.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:11 AM
Response to Original message
21. Cause Married People & Families Spend More Money...
They buy more groceries, need the big cars and bigger houses thus pay more in property and sales taxes. Also married types tend to be more stable and vote...always important to the politicians.

Now that my kids are no longer in school I can say it's not fair that I continue to pay taxes or for a Park District I'll never use or the local Community College (which goes to subsidize education for predominately single people). Such is life...you may not like the arrangement now but if you can take advantage, you will.
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Raineyb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 03:17 AM
Response to Reply #21
35. No they don't.
A single person with no kids, and a married couple with no kids don't have substantially different needs as far as housing and food yet the single person who is the only one paying into their household gets taxed more for the same salary as the married person. So the married person is taking home more per week while they have a spouse who in this day and age is also bringing home a check. That's not fair by any stretch of the imagination.

And God forbid something should happen to the single person and they need to take advantage of any help the government has to offer, because there won't be any help for them. Single? Can't afford food? Starve. Can't afford housing? There's a bridge find a spot under it. Health care? Why the hell would we expect you to try to get well if you get sick or keep from getting sick in the first place? But apparently it's just fine to take larger chunks of their paycheck (which they could have been using for their upkeep) than that of the married person.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 03:29 AM
Response to Reply #35
36. A Family Of 4 Spends More On Taxes...
Doesn't take rocket science to figure out that those people will spend a lot more on food, clothing and other basic items and thus be paying more in sales taxes. Owning a house also is more expensive as few single people I know need a 3 or 4 bedroom home or need two or more cars. The "extra" amount (one assumes) that a married person brings home is quickly gone when there's another pair of shoes or textbooks to buy.

I've been on both sides...and soon to be an empty nester and look forward to living on less money and paying less in taxes. While the deductions were helpful I still ended up paying more in taxes than a single person with no deductions living in an apartment or condo.

Now where does it say single people can't apply for government aid if they need it? You lost me on that one. I've worked in local shelters for the homeless...and there are far more families...too many...who end up in these places. It's either that or living in their cars. So I don't know where you figure out single people are discriminated against.

Hell...I wish I could earn 50k a year and keep it all to myself...
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Raineyb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 12:50 PM
Response to Reply #36
48. Nobody said you can't apply. Just don't expect any because the floor is
low and the hurdles put in place so onerous that it's designed to turn people away. And you certainly are not going to get medicaid as a single person unless you've been struck with a catastrophic illness.

As to homes, are you kidding me? Nobody HAS to buy a 3 or 4 bedroom house. No-damn-body. And you would not pay the more than a single making the same money the tax tables are completely different for single people and their tax rates start going up at a lower level. So to say that you're paying more as a married person in taxes than a single person is false. The tax tables don't support your assertion.

And I noticed you deliberately changed my scenario from a single person vs a married person with the same number of children to one where you're discussing a family of four vs a single person and that was NOT the discussion at hand. The point was the amount of taxes people pay based on their marital status. The children are superfluous to the argument. Many single people have children as well and while their tax rates don't change at the same rate as a single person's going by the tax table they'd still be paying more than the married couple making the same income.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #48
59. Tax rate isn't lower for a married couple compared to 2 working singles.
Edited on Sun May-16-10 05:24 PM by Statistical
$100K combined taxable income, married filing jointly: $17,363 federal income tax.

$50 taxable income, single filing single: $8,681.

$8,681 x 2 = $17,362.

$1 more for being married. In fact before the recent tax cuts changed the brackets there was a substantial (sometime up to 30% more taxes) penalty for being married.

Today the difference between married and single is essentially a wash.
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Raineyb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #59
62. What are you talking about. The tax rate IS lower.
A single person with 50,000 taxable income is 8,694
The married person filing jointly with the same taxable income is 6,669

Same pay with lower tax burden is lower tax rate.

You're taking a married couple with twice the taxable income and then complaining that it's the same as as two single people. Well duh but that's not the argument. I said the married person with the single co-worker making the same income is taking home more despite the fact that more likely than not he or she has a spouse who is ALSO bringing home a paycheck while the government is taking more out of the check of the single person who has no such help. Your argument has nothing to do with my what I said and it's not even comparing the same thing.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #62
63. Generally the govt looks at household income
Edited on Sun May-16-10 05:59 PM by Statistical
2 single person making household = 2 sources income
2 married persons making household = 2 sources income

combined single income & combined married income results in same taxes.

A single person with 50,000 taxable income is 8,694
The married person filing jointly with the same taxable income is 6,669


Yeah except to file married you need to include both sources of income. You are pretending their is only 1 source of income in a married couple and today that is a fallacy.

Thus all your arguments based on that are invalid.
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #35
56. Not true if both people are working which is the vast majority of households. n/t
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Jack_DeLeon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:17 AM
Response to Original message
23. They dont...
IIRC if both people make about the same amount of money they get taxed more. Its only if one person makes alot more than the other that there is a tax break since it works out as if both people made less.
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marybourg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 01:42 AM
Response to Original message
28. This is actually a very interesting and nearly intractable problem
having its origins in community property states, where people can split the earnings of one earner or the higher wage earner and each be in a lower marginal bracket. This would leave people in community property states paying less tax than people in non-community property states earning the same income. The solution: let all married couples split their earnings between them, putting their last dollars ina lower bracket than a single wage earner earing the same salary.
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Jamastiene Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 02:41 AM
Response to Original message
31. Why do you hate America?
:P

Note: I actually agree with your OP and have always asked the same question only to get blasted for it.
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JDPriestly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 02:46 AM
Response to Original message
32. The lower tax for married couples may be a leftover from the time
when mothers stayed home to be with their families. It made it easier for moms to do that. A one-income family with two adults was compensated for the lack of that second income.

It seems a bit absurd today, but I doubt that there would be much support for taking that perk away.

I suppose that some would argue that the deduction encourages people to get married and not just live together. Maybe. But I doubt it.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 02:52 AM
Response to Original message
33. They don't always. There is a marriage TAX on couples who make similar incomes --
that is, they pay more than if they were both single.

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Electric Monk Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 03:03 AM
Response to Original message
34. I've been thinking about marrying my best friend for tax purposes
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #34
60. What tax purposes? n/t
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
38. Because married people are more likely to vote, as are homeowners, hence the mortgage deduction.
NO other country has the mortgage deduction.

Single renters get screwed.
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dems_rightnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 08:34 AM
Response to Reply #38
41. Not sure why you think no other countries get a mortgage interest deduction
India, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland do. I'm sure there are others.
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 08:36 AM
Response to Reply #41
42. The UK and Canada do not. Folks in Canada buy houses anyway. We don't need to
Edited on Sat May-15-10 08:37 AM by Captain Hilts
prime the pump for home ownership.

In India, it's a good idea to establish title to property.
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seabeyond Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-15-10 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
44. if i were to get a job, i wouldnt make nearly what hubby does, but would be taxed in his bracket
so i would be being taxed significantly more than any single person for the same income.

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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 01:21 PM
Response to Original message
51. Where is this tax break for being married?
Where do you believe that if you are your roommate were married you would pay $7000 less in taxes?

Now tax credit for children I think is something past its time. We need a slowing population growth and encouraging more children is counter productive.

I think your entire OP is based on flawed math.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 02:04 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. The income has to be high, but it's possible
With $200,000 in combined taxable income, the tax difference is almost $7,000.

I don't believe tax credits for children encourages people to have more children. If it does, those people are idiots.

If we, as a collective society wanted to slow population growth, we could just reduce the immigration numbers. The fertility rate in the US is 2.05, which is almost exactly zero population growth. The reason we are growing in population is immigration.
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-fact...
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Statistical Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 04:06 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. Even at $200K combined income there isn't always a "marriage break".
Edited on Sun May-16-10 04:28 PM by Statistical
It really depends on how the income is distributed.

married filing jointly w/ $200K taxable income results in $44,244 in federal taxes.

Filing Single with 2 incomes $100K + $100K results in 43,418 in federal taxes combined. ($828 less)
Filing Single with 2 incomes $120K + $80K results in 43,490 in federal taxes combined ($754 less)
Filing Single with 2 incomes $150K + $50K results in 44,390 in federal taxes combined. (146 more)
Filing Single with 2 incomes $170K + $30K results in 45,390 in federal taxes combined. ($1146 more)
Filing Single with only 1 income $200K + $0K results in $51,117 in federal taxes. ($6873 more)

So unless the OP is in a situation where only 2 of the two people works it is unlikely he/she would save $7000 by getting married.

The "marriage tax break" on $200K in income can be anywhere from $829 more taxes to $1146 less taxes in most situations where both persons in the couple work.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #55
58. Which is why I said it's possible
Lots of people are in cohabitation situations where only one works and they are not married, so I don't think it's all that unlikely. As your numbers bear out, the bigger differential there is between the two parties, the bigger difference it makes. So there's other scenarios where a $7,000 difference could be conceivable as well.

Regardless, I see no valid reason why there should be a tax advantage or disadvantage for being married. Married filing jointly should simply be a convenience at best.
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noamnety Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
61. It's because historically (when the tax code was written)
women were wildly discriminated against once they were married. My mom lost her scholarship once she was married because it was understood that married women didn't need to bother with an education or work. It was understood that married women didn't need to earn fair wages, that they weren't considered equals; they were dependents.
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tinymontgomery Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 08:16 PM
Response to Original message
64. Same reason
married military members get paid more then single military members do. Of course they all die the same. Disclaimer, 23 years United States Navy and married. All should be paid the same in my view. Why do people with mortgages get a tax deduction? I also own a home.
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WolverineDG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 09:50 PM
Response to Original message
65. Because they're more equal than others, especially if they have kids nt
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Goblinmonger Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-16-10 09:52 PM
Response to Original message
66. Guess what happens when you marry your roomie, though.
Your first dollar that you make is taxed at the same rate as the last dollar that roomie makes. Did you factor that in? Because that SUCKS.
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