|Politicians in Washington have focused most of
their talk about tax relief on "working families." With the budget surpluses as
large as they are, there is nothing wrong with giving tax relief to the American people.
it is the individual who pays taxes, not families. Employers withhold income tax from an
individuals pay-check. Payroll taxes are taken from an individuals salary to
fund the social security program. When an individual dies, federal estate taxes are taken
from his or her estate.
So why all of the focus on tax relief for working families? Politics, of course.
Apparently the leaders of both major political parties are ignoring some basic
demographic information as they haggle over who will get tax relief and who will not.
There are 80 million American taxpayers who are single or unmarried. We constitute 40
percent of the nations full-time work force and about 45 percent of the
nations households. Tens of millions of us live alone. But most of us live in
unmarried family households with a child, a parent, a relative, or an unmarried
We are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. We are voting
Americans. We deserve tax relief too.
Unmarried Americans are treated unfairly by federal and state tax laws.
We cant file a joint return with an unmarried household member and thereby gain a
tax "bonus" as many married couples do. We must pay income tax on domestic
partner employment benefits while married people get tax free benefits at work. We may be
deprived of the right to claim someone as a dependent or to file as "head of
household" because Uncle Sam disapproves of our living arrangements. Many of us must
fork over many of our hard-earned assets to the federal treasury in death taxes when we
die sometimes as much as 60% while a
|married person can leave an unlimited amount
of wealth to a surviving spouse tax free.
This issue of Unmarried America is
devoted entirely to the unfair taxation of unmarried and single Americans a topic
which has been ignored by politicians and by the media for too long.
President Bush discussed his tax plan recently at a joint session of Congress. It would
lower the income tax rates for wage earners in all tax brackets. It would also repeal the
death tax a system that currently exempts transfers between spouses while taxing
transfers of wealth from an unmarried person to an unmarried partner, a child, a parent,
or a close friend. That is marital status discrimination.
When they focus on the so-called "marriage penalty" which a minority
of married couples pay when they file a joint return, many politicians Democrats
and Republicans alike say that the tax code should be "marriage neutral."
If that is so, then why does the tax plan of the Democrats contain a marital exemption
from death taxes on those estates which their plan would continue to tax? This surely will
not please wealthy gay and lesbian Democrats who cant marry and therefore will
forfeit major assets to the government while their married heterosexual counterparts
remain exempt. Ending the tax ends the discrimination!
There are other inequities, like discriminatory definitions of
"head of household" in the income tax code, and unfair taxation of unmarried
wage-earners in the social security tax, which neither party is discussing.
Please, lets get all of the cards on the table if we are serious
about tax relief for all Americans. If we are going to talk about fairness, then we should
make sure that our actions reflect fairness.