[-$77,295] Being Single is Taxing

So, if you are in the U.S., I hope you’ve all paid your taxes by now. If not, you’re juuuust about out of time. The clock is ticking, peeps. Get on it!

I paid a LOT in taxes this year, as usual. Most of it, I hope, is going to various good causes, but it still is frustrating to see that money disappear forever.

I’ve seen a few blog posts by bloggers with families proud of paying little or no taxes. Between marriage, having a kid (or three), and home and other tax breaks / benefits / deductions, they are living well. Good for them. As a single person who qualifies for, seemingly (based on my recent tax return), no breaks or benefits of any kind, my spend on taxes feels disproportionate and unfair. 

While it would be a stretch to argue that being single is making you poor, it can be argued that being single makes it harder, sometimes much harder, to get ahead financially and is often a liability to any goals of financial independence. Far beyond housing, many things are often either more expensive when we are single or the cost has longer lasting financial ramifications for us.

[Unmarried people] … pay more for health and car insurance than married people do. They don’t get the same kind of tax breaks. Co-op boards, mortgage brokers, and landlords often pass them over. So do the employers with the power to promote them. (Daily Beast Article)

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Over a lifetime, unmarried women can pay as much as a million dollars more than their married counterparts for healthcare, taxes, and more. (Atlantic article)

Bella DePaulo,Ph.D, who literally wrote the book on ‘Singlism’ asks a very important question.

The argument of advocates of same-sex marriage is, why do we have to be a certain kind of a couple in order to be treated fairly? … My argument is wider-reaching: why does anyone have to be part of any kind of couple to get the same federal benefits and protections as anyone else? (Daily Beast Article)

And the Singles Tax can extend beyond finances. Here are a few of many examples:

Every day that employers and coworkers expect single people to take the least desirable work assignments or travel schedules or vacation times, or to work more hours for the same pay, singles are paying a price for their jobs that married people are not. (Psychcentral)

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Every day that a stunningly successful single person is asked why they are not married, or described as having a lesser life, is a day when we have all suffered the narrow-minded and ideologically-blinkered tax. (Psychology Today)

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Every day that a friend or family member heads down the path of serious coupledom or gets married and then excludes the single person who was once an important person in their social circle, single people are paying the “excluded-from-the-Married-Couples-Club” tax. (Psychology Today)

It’s Tax Day for all of us, but indeed, some of us are taxed more than others, and in more ways than one.

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“Debtor’s prison is real, and opportunity cost is a bitch.” (DDSW)

 

 

15 comments

  1. layingdownlawdebt · April 15

    Unfortunately, even being married didn’t protect us much this tax season – we still ended up paying a little over $2,000 in state and federal taxes. If you don’t have babies AND assets (hard assets or retirement accounts), there’s little to no chance you’re getting any more than the standard deduction anyway. So our plan this year is to just ratchet up our withholdings so that we’re not hit with a tax bill.

    The insurance rates being higher seems particularly unfair – I wonder which actuarial house came up with that?

    Like

  2. The Bookworm · April 16

    I claim 0 throughout the year with my full time job. I’m okay with taking the hit year round, But when it appears that that tax dollars are being wasted by our leaders…. now that’s when it starts to hurt!!!

    Like

    • I do this too (claim 0). I know it’s not ideal to give an interest-free loan to the government during the year, but I need the forced savings – at least while I’m in debt. When I say that I paid a lot in taxes, I meant throughout the year, directly out of my paychecks. I get very small portion of it back as a refund. Yes, seeing wasteful government spending is frustrating. I’m going to pretend that all of my tax dollars go to fund the worthwhile endeavors. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fiscally Fit Chica · April 16

    I always felt I pay more in taxes as a single person. It’s stunningly unfair. You’re in the 70’s! Who-boo. So proud of you!!!

    Like

  4. Cynthia · April 18

    I agree. Why should married people get a tax break just for being married? It’s discriminatory!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. zeejaythorne · April 20

    I am embarrassed that I have not yet face up to my self-employment taxes. I owe them, finally, but have let the March 15 deadline sail past. There will be a penalty, but it is intimidating.

    Like

    • Don’t you have to pay self-employment taxes like, quarterly or something? Did you file, but not pay, or did you not file at all? Be careful! Don’t mess with the IRS. 😦 Here’s to hoping you can get things sorted out soon.

      Liked by 1 person

      • zeejaythorne · April 23

        The overwhelming majority of my income is from my w2 employer. My projected income subject to SE tax is under the threshold. I got a refund for 2016 based on taxes paid, and will most likely receive a refund for 2017 if things go as anticipated.

        Like

  6. Terri · April 26

    OMG, lady, sing it!! I totally understand your feelings on this. This is the first year I got money back and it’s becuase I am making like 25% of what I made back in 2015. It’s so sad, really, that you have to be ridiculously poor to get anything back, and then when you think about it, it’s YOUR money you are getting back! I make so little and I have 19% taken out in taxes, and I claim 1!! And when I was married, we didn’t have kids so we had the marriage penalty tax.

    But what you say about how the singles pay for more for a lot of stuff, yes, I agree. When I was salaried, I saw how the singles would sometimes stay later, not having a spouse and kids to run home to to take care of at night. (Of course I didn’t want the married person with kids’ kind of stress. No thanks.)

    Housing is definitely where being single hits home for me. And if you screw up with your bills or savings, no one is there to help. (Which can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it.)

    I’m liking the 70s number next to your title!!

    Like

  7. Anne · June 17

    Interesting article. I am wondering if you could elaborate on exactly what tax breaks married people get. I am aware of the marriage penalties that some couples face, but I am not aware of what breaks married people get that are not available to singles as well. Thanks and good blog!

    Like

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