TRENTON, N.J. – When married couples approach tax season, the best option is usually to file a joint tax return. But that’s not always the case.
New Jersey is one of 24 states with a marriage penalty built into its income tax brackets. It taxes married couples 140 percent more on their income between $20,000 and $70,000.
“Two single filers combined have a lower tax bill than a married couple filing jointly with the same income,” explains Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco. “Families are being penalized simply for being a family. And this egregious inequity hits low- and middle-income families the hardest.”
Bucco’s bill (A1404) is called the Marriage Penalty Elimination Act.
“The best way to help low- and middle-income families is to put more money in their pockets,” said Assemblyman Anthony M. Bucco (R-Morris). “New Jersey’s progressive income tax system makes sure their income is taxed less for that reason, except for this one caveat: the marriage penalty.”
New Jersey only allows married couples to file separately if they also do so for their federal taxes.
An effort to fast-track the bill was voted down on the state Assembly floor along party lines 44-24 last June.