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The Marriage “Penalty”

Hidden Incongruities in the U.S. Tax System


NEW YORK, NY - Financial decisions are made by families every day that result in unexpected and unintended consequences. It’s why everyone should ask a tax expert about tax planning this year. Tax professional James Tsempelis, explains.

"Couples are always encouraged to get married. But for some couples, our present tax code actually inhibits marriage, and I think it’s a shame,” Tsempelis shared.

Two partners are not married, and have two children. Each parent can earn $17,100 and still collect the max $3,169 for a total of $6,338. But unfortunately, for a married couple with two children earning the same $34,200, they could only collect $2,735. They are essentially “penalized” $3,603, or 10.5% of their salaries, because they are legally married. Further, that penalty grows as the number of children and income level rise. It can be as high as a $8,400 “penalty” compared to unmarried couples in certain salary levels.

“We should not be penalizing marriage through the tax code. It’s because of things like this that having a tax professional is so important, to help guide you through tricky tax and financial decisions that aren’t exactly intuitive,” Tsempelis said.

James Tsempelis, CPA, PLLC offers tax services to individuals and small businesses. He enjoys helping individuals and families save money on taxes. Give him a call (212) 336-0841, email or visit his website


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