The benefits of getting married don't stop with the romance of the ceremony or the thrill of a registry. When you get married, your financial life may change, and the IRS recognizes this fact by offering several tax benefits to married couples that can reduce your overall tax liability.
The IRS offers a standard deduction to married couples filing jointly of $11,900 as of 2012. This deduction reduces your taxable income and can also reduce your tax liability. If you are married and filing separately, you are each entitled to a deduction of $5,950 as of 2012, the same amount as a single person. Together your total standard deduction will still equal $11,900.
Income Tax Brackets
Income tax brackets determine the percentage of your income you pay in taxes based upon your total taxable income. Higher earners pay a larger percent of their income in taxes. Married couples who file jointly can earn more money without entering a higher tax bracket. For example, an individual filer in the 25 percent tax bracket makes between $36,250 and $87,850, while married couples in this tax bracket make between $72,500 and $146,400 as of 2012. If one spouse makes significantly less money than the other or is unemployed, getting married and filing jointly may actually lower your tax bracket.
If you manage to amass a large estate, your marriage will protect your spouse from paying taxes when he inherits it from you. Spouses can leave an estate of any value -- as well as leave any amount of money -- to their spouses without forcing the surviving heir to pay estate taxes.
Starting a Business
Many young couples dream of starting a business together, and being married can greatly reduce your tax liability if you start a business. If one spouse is the primary earner and the other spouse is running a struggling business, by filing jointly, you can significantly reduce your overall tax liability. This gives you the freedom to start a business that may lose money at first while still bringing in enough household income to sustain your family.
Van Thompson is an attorney and writer. A former martial arts instructor, he holds bachelor's degrees in music and computer science from Westchester University, and a juris doctor from Georgia State University. He is the recipient of numerous writing awards, including a 2009 CALI Legal Writing Award.