It is not acknowledged by policy writers and society that there is a single person’s tax for not being married. Married couples receive a number of benefits for being legally married in the eyes of the government, in fact these married couples receive more than one thousand benefits from laws across the levels of government. One of the most important benefits that married couples receive is the joint income tax return that allows the couple to mutually split their income. The single person’s penalty is an unjust tax on all singles.
The tax on single people ranges between 20% to 40% according to Professor Kahng who wrote One Is the Loneliest Number: The Single Taxpayer in a Joint Return World. Despite the fact that single people now outnumber married couples in the United States, the has only been a single study done on the single person’s tax penalty. An indirect consequence of the joint income tax return was that singles ended up having to pay more while couples received deductions from the government. Kahng, in his study, found that singles pay on average between “$0 to about $7800” in additional taxes compared to couples just because they are not married. Policy analysts for the government have yet to return to addressing the single penalty while the debate about different types of deductions for couples continues in Washington. This is penalty on all singles is at best a current unfair tax policy that needs to be resolved and at worst is tax discrimination on single people in favor of those who have chosen to get married.
The United States remains one of the few modern industrialized countries that continues to practice the joint income tax. It is a policy that irreverently favors married couples while hurting the majority single population. People are remaining single longer, if they decide to get married at all today. Singles should contact their representatives and policy writers to work together to fix this unfair tax for all single people to and all future single people to come.