Single = Married/2?
I’m not a tax expert, nor am I sure why I’m thinking about taxes in August.
Well, actually I am sure. I’ve had two married couples tell me how great of a tax deal it was for them to get married, and I was confused. I’d heart that there was once a marriage penalty, and I’ve heard that it was eliminated, but a marriage tax break? I wouldn’t be surprised, given the favorable tax treatment the government uses to promote homeownership and families.
I researched it a little online, and got confused. Intuitively, I thought marriage would be transparent to taxes, but that is not the case. I suppose it would get complicated when you had shared deductions, but to me it would just make sense for two non-marrieds to have the same tax burden as before, once they tied the knot.
I came to the conclusion that the reason both couples saw being married is a tax perk is because only one of them is working. Their logic of saying that it is a tax benefit is a little skewed, because they pretty much forfeited one person’s salary for this so called “break”. It’s like quitting your job to save $8000 a year.
I did glance at the brackets, and I’m not exactly sure where they came from, but I’m sure someone did some math and decided these were fair. I hope so, at least.
In summary, here’s what I think about taxes:
- Our tax system is complicated and confusing
- The mortgage interest tax deduction is not good, and did not originate for the reasons people assume. Our tax treatment fuels the idea that everyone should be a homeowner as soon as possible. However is too ingrained in the system to be done away with.
- Some redistribution of the wealth is good for a stable society. Communism is not, but a strong middle class makes for stable and strong countries. I’m not talking Robin Hood, but people shouldn’t go hungry.
- Taxes need to go up and/or spending needs to go down. We can’t fund a war and all our social programs
- Single does not equal to married/2. Tax math is not so simple.