Marriage Calculator

A couple pays a “marriage penalty” if the partners pay more income tax as a married couple than they would pay as unmarried individuals. Conversely, the couple receives a “marriage bonus” if its partners pay less income tax as a married couple than they would pay as unmarried individuals. This calculator lets you create specific situations to see whether a married couple would pay a tax penalty or receive a tax bonus.

Note: This calculator determines how much tax two people might pay if they were to marry. It compares the taxes a married couple would pay filing a joint return with what they would pay if they were not married and each filed as single or head of household. It does not compare the taxes a married couple would pay filing jointly with what they would pay filing separately. Under the “Detailed Breakdown” button, the alternative minimum tax (AMT) is included in the Total taxes calculation, which may cause the two individuals taxes to not add up to the Total taxes of the couple.

In addition, the calculator does not cover every possible tax situation and omits more complex aspects of the tax code. For example, it does not allow cases with more than four children, or allow for certain deductions or credits.

Do you have children?

Total Children Choose number of children (up to 4). For each child, choose age range.

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First Child

If you aren’t (or weren’t) married, associate your first child with…

Second Child

If you aren’t (or weren’t) married, associate your second child with…

Third Child

If you aren’t (or weren’t) married, associate your third child with…

Fourth Child

If you aren’t (or weren’t) married, associate your fourth child with…


Taxpayers may claim the childcare credit for expenses incurred to care for children under age 13 that allow parents to work.

You

Your Partner

Do you have income?

Enter values for income sources you wish to include; leave other values at zero.

You

All income from paid employment, including tips, bonuses, and the like.
Gains on assets held for longer than one year, qualified dividends received.
All benefits for retirees, survivors, and dependents.
Interest on instruments such as municipal bonds that is exempt from the federal individual income tax.
Income from all other taxable sources.
Net income from a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, limited liability company, or other business.

Your Partner

All income from paid employment, including tips, bonuses, and the like.
Gains on assets held for longer than one year, qualified dividends received.
All benefits for retirees, survivors, and dependents.
Interest on instruments such as municipal bonds that is exempt from the federal individual income tax.
Income from all other taxable sources.
Net income from a sole proprietorship, partnership, S corporation, limited liability company, or other business.
Professional services businesses are those in which the principal asset is the reputation or skill of its employees, e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc.

Do you want to itemize your deductions?

Standard Deduction


Tax filers may either claim a standard deduction based on their filing status or itemize their deductions. The calculator uses the standard deduction unless you choose to itemize. To enter itemized deduction, click “Yes” above and enter values for the expenses on the list that appears. If you choose to itemize, the calculator will select the optimal deduction choice between standard and itemized in each scenario.

2018

2019

Enter values for deductions you wish to itemize; leave other values at zero.

You

Enter either income or sales tax payments (excluding property taxes) to state and local governments and property taxes to state and local governments.
Mortgage interest paid on primary residence.
Donations to charitable organizations or causes.
Qualifying medical expenses include out of pocket medical expenses on preventative care, treament, surgeries, and dental and vision care. Enter the total amount of expenses, not just the deductible portion.

Your Partner

Enter either income or sales tax payments (excluding property taxes) to state and local governments and property taxes to state and local governments.
Mortgage interest paid on primary residence.
Donations to charitable organizations or causes.
Qualifying medical expenses include out of pocket medical expenses on preventative care, treament, surgeries, and dental and vision care. Enter the total amount of expenses, not just the deductible portion.

Results for Tax Year

If you marry and file a joint tax return, you would pay
$
more income taxes.
less income taxes.
the same income taxes.
Tax as Two Individuals
$
Tax as a Married Couple
$
Difference as a Percentage of Couple's AGI
%
See Detailed Breakdown

Tax Calculation

You Your partner Couple
Wage and salary All income from paid employment, including tips, bonuses, and the like. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Capital gains/dividends Gains on assets held for longer than one year, qualified dividends received. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Social security benefits All benefits for retirees, survivors, and dependents. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Other taxable income Income from all other taxable sources. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Adjusted gross income Total income subject to tax (before personal exemptions and standard or itemized deductions). Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Standard/Itemized deduction(s) The total amount of standard or itemized deduction(s) that reduce taxable income (does not include any deduction for qualified business income). Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Taxable income Amount subject to tax; equals adjusted gross income less all deductions (including for qualified business income). Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Regular tax before credits Income tax liability before subtracting allowed tax credits. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Net investment income tax Additional tax imposed by the Affordable Care Act on high-income taxpayers' investment income above specified thresholds. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Child/family tax credit Partially refundable tax credit per dependent child. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Earned income tax credit (EITC) Refundable tax credit based on taxpayer's earnings and number of children; credit phases out for higher-income households. Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Child and dependent care credit Non-refundable tax credit subsidizing child and dependent care costs for taxpayers who work (or, for some couples, attend school). Person One $0 Person Two $0 Couple $0
Total Total individual taxes. Person One $ Person Two $ Couple $

Credits

The Tax Policy Center is a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution. The Center is made up of nationally recognized experts in tax, budget, and social policy who have served at the highest levels of government. It aims to provide independent analyses of current and longer-term tax issues and to communicate its analyses to the public and to policymakers in a timely and accessible manner. The Center combines top national experts in tax, expenditure, budget policy, and microsimulation modeling to concentrate on areas of tax policy that are critical to future debate.

RESEARCH: Tax Policy Center staff

DEVELOPMENT: David D’Orio, Jessica Kelly, Alyssa Harris, Philip Stallworth, Daniel Berger, and Roberton Williams