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Did you file your taxes jointly or separately? Here's how that might make a difference
One part of our tax code that many are discussing, which has gained increased attention due to the slowly building 2016 presidential race, is how fair taxes are to families. - photo by JJ Feinauer
Americans might not hate taxes as much as everyone thinks.

The Atlantics Vanessa Williamson found that April 15 still acts as a reminder that all citizens have a stake in our political system," even though we might find the process of paying taxes cumbersome.

But when it comes to the nitty-gritty, not all elements of the tax code are created equal. Americans largely believe that those in the lower-income bracket pay too much in taxes, and higher income earners pay too little. In 2013, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans think the tax system needs major changes or to be completely rebuilt.

One element, which has gained increased attention due to the slowly building 2016 presidential race, is how fair taxes are to families.

According to The Upshot (a New York Times blog that focuses on data and policy), marriage can have its benefits on tax day, but it can also be a burden for those who file jointly. It all depends on your tax bracket and child status.

The marriage penalty is the additional taxes that couples pay when filing jointly, compared to what they would pay if each person were allowed to filed individually, The Upshots Amanda Cox wrote. The penalty stems mostly from the fact that tax rates rise as income rises and the brackets for married people and single people are different.

According to Cox, its those on the two ends of the income spectrum the rich and the poor that see the most penalties for filing as a married couple, as well as when the two people are making similar amounts of money.

In short, Cox seems to argue that the benefits of being married while filing taxes are scattered, and couples should pay close attention to which path would benefit their filing the most.

Thats likely why politicians, such as Jeb Bush and Paul Ryan, have advocated for reforms that would make families feel less pressure around tax season.

If you would like to see where you land on the tax spectrum, take a look at The Upshot's interactive graphics to help you determine whether or not you should file your taxes jointly with your spouse or individually.
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