My wife is a very attractive, successful, intelligent, and well-respected attorney. Sometimes I’m sure she wonders why she married an uninteresting and undistinguished tax nerd. She puts up with my corny jokes, my slightly anal-retentive personality, my mechanical ineptitude and my other quirks. If she knew what it was really costing her, I might be just a distant memory.
While there have always been marriage tax penalties in the Internal Revenue Code, they were tempered a bit by the Bush tax cuts starting in 2001. These penalties returned in full force in 2013.
What penalties? To name a few, less than doubling of “filing single” amounts for:
• Tax brackets (For example, the top bracket for singles starts at $400,000 of taxable income; for married persons filing jointly the top bracket starts at $450,000.)
• AMT phaseout
• Capital loss deductions
• IRA deduction AGI limits
• Affordable Care Act taxes exemption ceilings
• Many tax credit limitations
I went to the marriage penalty calculator at taxpolicycenter.org and discovered that it’s costing Mrs. M (and me) about $30,000 in 2013 alone to share our wedded bliss. Now, if the lovely lady starts to be a bit more distant, or suggests that we divorce and shack up, I’ll know that one of you told her. I’m not saying anything!