NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Bush's Efforts to Reform Marriage Penalty Seen as Just a Start

January 16, 2003

Even if President Bush gets Congress to vote his way on the marriage penalty issue, many two-income couples who are now penalized "would still face some marriage penalty taxes," advises Mark Garay of Deloitte & Touche.

  • Part of the difficulty in battling the marriage penalty lies in the tax law's rapidly growing complexity -- such as numerous provisions featuring tricky phase-ins or phase-outs, according to tax specialists.
  • Under the Bush plan, the standard deduction for married couples would increase to twice the amount of the standard deduction for single taxpayers in 2003.
  • The width of the 15 percent tax bracket for married couples would increase to twice that for single taxpayers in 2003.
  • Under current law, these provisions are scheduled to phase in between 2006 and 2009.

For this year, based on current law, the basic standard deduction for married couples filing jointly is $7,950 -- up from $7,850 in 2002. For most singles it's $7,750 -- up from $4,700.

The Bush plan would mean $19 billion of tax relief for married couples this year -- and $58 billion over a decade.

Source: Tom Herman, "Marriage Penalty Is the Tax That It Seems Just Won't Die," Wall Street Journal, January 16, 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required)

http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB1042658755307141224-search,00.html

 

Browse more articles on Tax and Spending Issues