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There are 2 big changes to relieve the marriage penalty. First, the standard deduction for people who are married, filing jointly will gradually increase, beginning in 2005, until it reaches twice the standard deduction as that for single filers in 2009. This provision may not be of much help to high-income taxpayers, who statistically would have so many itemized deductions that they would not use even the new, higher standard deduction.

The second big change is that the 15% rate bracket for joint filers will gradually expand, again beginning in 2005, until it is twice as large as the 15% bracket for single filers in 2008.

For both these cases, the actual amount of the deduction or the bracket is not known right now – the brackets and deduction are adjusted for inflation each year.

Not that these two provisions do not specifically address the marriage penalty. They give benefits to all married taxpayers, even those who already enjoy a marriage “premium” because only one spouse works.

Last Updated: 9/23/2012 10:05:00 PM