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Tax Benefits and Penalties of Marriage

Marriage taxes Getty Images DOMA
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The Supreme Court has struck down part of a law that denied federal benefits to same-sex couples who were married in states that recognize their unions. The tax benefits of being married, however, are a mixed bag.

Three scenarios:

A couple with no children. One spouse makes $70,000 and the other makes $30,000, for a combined income of $100,000. They each take the standard deduction.
Combined federal income tax bill if they file as single adults: $13,483.
Tax bill if they were married filing jointly: $11,858.
Tax cut for being married: $1,625.

A couple with no children. One spouse makes $225,000 and the other makes $75,000, for a combined income of $300,000. They each take the standard deduction.
Combined tax bill if they file as single adults: $71,861.
Tax bill if they were married filing jointly: $77,575.
Tax increase for being married: $5,714.

A couple with no children. One spouse makes $35,000 and the other makes $15,000, for a combined income of $50,000. The lower-paid spouse gets health insurance benefits provided by the higher-paid spouse's employer.
Combined federal income tax bill if they file as single adults: $4,323.
Tax bill if they were married filing jointly: $3,608.
Tax cut for being married: $715.
Note: Employer-provided health benefits are generally tax-free for workers, spouses and dependents. However, if a worker's unmarried partner is covered, those benefits are taxed.


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