The different treatment in the tax code of married couples and single individuals gives rise to one of the most contentious tax policy issues, the so-called marriage penalty (and its counterpart, the marriage bonus). This issue comes into play in connection with income tax rates, the treatment of capital losses, credits for the elderly and disabled, taxation of Social Security benefits, and a number of other provisions of the tax code. In our report, Tax Administration: Income Tax Treatment of Married and Single Individuals,3 we identified 59 provisions in income tax law under which tax liability depends in part on whether a taxpayer is married or single.What does this mean in plain English? Gay couples tend to pay higher taxes than straight couples. Eventhough, LGBT couples have the same expenses of straight couples including sometimes children, they are not allowed to file their taxes as a couple. This means that they are unable to take advantage of tax breaks extended to straight couples and subsequently pay higher taxes than their straight counterparts.
This can be particularly guiling for LGBT people when Republican and Democratic politicians cut taxes for married couples and "families" and use the higher taxes we pay because they refuse to allow us to marry to help offset the revenue loss.
So, just remember it's your LGBT neighbors who are allowing you to get that tax break this year when you file as "Married."