Question: What is the marriage penalty?
Answer: Some married couples pay more federal income tax than two single taxpayers with a like amount of income. The difference in these tax numbers is referred to as the marriage penalty.
Married taxpayers have the choice of filing “jointly” or as “married filing separate.” However, the married filing separate status does not provide the same tax benefit as does filing as two single taxpayers. As a result, these two taxpayers are being penalized for being married.