Others will pick up gap created by tax changes

-- The Herald, Rock Hill, S.C. - April 6

Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2001

House members, Democrats and Republicans

alike, eagerly passed a bill ending the ... ''marriage penalty'' paid by some couples who file taxes jointly. It will be hailed as the righting of a wrong in the tax code. ...

Last year, nearly 25 million couples -- about half of all joint filers -- paid higher income taxes than if both partners had filed as individuals. But in many cases, that was because their combined income moved them into a higher tax bracket. Nearly all of the other joint filers -- again, about half -- received a marriage ''bonus,'' paying less than if both had filed singly. ...

But under the bill passed recently, all those couples, even the ones who benefit under current policy, will receive additional tax breaks. ...

This will be a popular measure, especially among those who think married couples have been unfairly targeted for higher taxes. But it is no free lunch: Ending the marriage penalty will reduce federal tax revenues an estimated $56 billion over five years and $248 billion over 10 years.

Fewer married couples will be paying higher taxes, but other taxpayers undoubtedly will have to take up the slack.

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