April 15, 2013

This Tax Day, Don't Forget the Singles

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The U.S. government regularly and routinely discriminates against fifty percent of our population: single people. I am joining a group of other single bloggers today - Tax Day - to bring awareness to the discrimination that singles face. Some of the most egregious examples of Marital Status Discrimination occur in Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security laws, which all largely favor married people. A single person (not living as part of a couple) ALWAYS pays more in income taxes on the exact same taxable income as a married couple who file jointly.

Did you know that our federal code alone contains over 1,000 laws where marital status is a factor, and in most cases single people lose out. According to Onely.org's calculations, a single person earning $80,000/year could easily spend a million dollars more than his or her married peer over the course of a lifetime, based on only a few of the most discriminatory laws. The New York Times reported that fifty one percent of women are now living without spouse so these laws gravely affect women who are still making less money than men for the same work.

As a single woman who has no desire to wed, I am quite outraged by this. Although I am happy to live in a progressive city like Manhattan where I am free to earn my own income, live alone and not rely on a man. There is still stigmatism towards being single after a certain age. By now, you've probably heard about this Princeton alumna, Susan A. Patton, who basically told a conference of young girls that they need to find a husband before graduating college. I shouldn't be shocked that in 2013 that there is still this thought process. Even in New York, where women are not frowned upon for pursuing their career before a family. There is still a deadline. Your biological clock. It is more accepted to be single and in your 30s but once your 35th birthday hits, your open-minded friends start to shift their opinions. It is still a foreign concept for most people when I tell them I don't want to be married. "Oh, but eventually you would, right?" Why? Being someone's wife doesn't define me. And I don't want to have to marry someone for the tax breaks. (Put that in the vows)

"The United States is one of the few developed countries to retain the joint income tax return, available for heterosexual married couples only" explains Lily Kahng, who served three years as attorney advisor in the Office of Tax Legislative Counsel in the U. S. Department of the Treasury. (Source) To me it seems like the U.S.'s tax code is stuck in bygone era. It's 2013. Laws need to be changed to reflect the current status quo. As Bob Dylan said "the times they are a-changin'!"

To read more about this topic check out The Atlantic's article.


  1. I completely agree with you! While I agree with same sex marriage in a legal sense, when everyone was/is getting all up in arms about equal rights, I often wonder why the single people don't start a movement themselves(because homosexual people are maybe 5% (depending on where you look) of the population, and single people are around half). There should be no tax favor one way or another with how people choose to live.

  2. Wow this is fascinating and outrageous, not to mention totally unfair! I wonder what the situation is here in Australia? Hopefully not the same! :)


  3. Hmm I'm not sure. It did say that the US was the only developed country with these laws so I hope not!


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