Sunday, March 25, 2012

Paying one's fair share...part 2

Why do some taxpayers with the same taxable income (and equivalent itemized deductions) get breaks that others don't?

Yesterday I asked why Sara should pay more in taxes as head of household than Chris and Christa pay as a married couple filing jointly. I could make a case for giving Sara a lower tax rate in consideration of her financial (not to mention emotional) investment in raising Adam. But why should Chris and Christa with the potential for two incomes and no children get the better deal...or any deal at all? 

Carol, introduced yesterday as a single person with no dependents, is asked to pay more. Using 2011 federal tax tables, I went through four different scenarios comparing Carol's tax bill to Chris and Christa's at the same taxable income for each of the two households. Every time, Carol pays more. 
  •  At $40,583 in taxable income, single taxpayers like Carol pay $1,008 more; at $60,875, $3,063 more; $81,165, $3,875 more; at $121,748, $5,019 more; and so on.
Plus, because Chris and Christa qualify for two personal exemptions to Carol's one, they and other married couples are able to earn (and pocket) $3,700 more at the same taxable income level. 

I know it's been this way a long time...but why?

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