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Hello, I was looking at the tax tables from last year and it appears to me that there is NO marriage penalty when a married couple files separately and each person's income is under $69,700. The amount of tax is the same number whether single or filing separately for all incomes below that level.

Is there something I missed here? Are there other factors?

There is generally not much of a marriage penalty, anymore. And that's true through the end of 2012, as it stands now.

As you may have read, that may well change for 2013 IF CONGRESS FAILS TO ACT, and extend the "Bush-era" tax cuts of 2001 in some fashion, including that.

I've always said the biggest marriage penalty isn't in the income tax law, but the Social Security laws, that cut benefits for a widow who remarries, if she had low earnings of her own.

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