President Bush reminded us yesterday that his administration has lowered the marriage penalty tax. I'm quite sure he didn't have plural marriage in mind.
Our taxes went up this year. Karen, my legal wife, and I are required to file a joint tax return. We fully own our house and aren't in debt, so we take the standard deduction. Since Karen and I both have an income, we are hit with the marriage penalty tax. That means that if we were allowed to file separate returns, our total taxes would be lower. But because we're married, we must file a joint return and pay two to three thousand dollars more in taxes.
Lisa is the housewife of the family, doing much of the cooking and cleaning. She has no taxable income at present. If we could file a joint return as three people, and if the IRS would accomodate us with appropriate tax tables, our taxes would go way down. But the weather report says its warm and sunny in the Netherworld, so we're not holding our breath. Until we catch up with Canada and redefine what family really means, we're pretty much stuck with the situation.
However, I learned today that since Lisa lives with us, and because we provide all her income, we can claim her as a dependent. Taking an additional deduction for her would lower our taxes by about a thousand dollars. We can't claim her youngest son as a dependent, though, because he's not a "direct relative".
I suppose I could divorce and remarry Karen and Lisa on alternate years. Believe it or not, this has been tried before and is now against the law, or so I've been told. It's apparently illegal to marry or divorce for the purpose of reducing taxes. But it's perfectly legal to marry and divorce to make a philosophical point, as far as I can tell.
Karen and Lisa could each spend time as my legal wife, and have the feeling of security that goes with it. That alone is worth a trip to Las Vegas each year. -- Martin