Political  Calculations

We're following up our look at the payroll and income tax withholding plight of Single tax filers today with a look at the plight of those who have their income taxes withheld at the IRS' initial 2012 married tax rates.

Once again, we're comparing the initial tax withholding rates for 2012 against those that applied in 2010, the last year before the employee's portion of the Social Security FICA payroll taxes of 6.2% of the employee's income was "temporarily" reduced to 4.2%.


Federal Income Tax Withholding Rates for Married Filers, 2010 vs 2012 

What we find is that the benefits of extending the Social Security payroll tax cut into 2012 is limited to roughly 51% of those who might choose the Married filing status for their federal tax withholding, namely those whose incomes might fall between $7,900 and $78,800.

For all practical purposes, no individual who has their taxes withheld under the Married filing status whose income equals or exceeds $78,800 can expect to see any meaningful increase in their take-home pay with respect to what they might have done under the tax withholding rules of 2010. The increase in the income tax withholding rates will offset the reduction in they might otherwise see from the payroll tax cut.

In the chart above, we've used two different shading levels to indicate the range of incomes for which the 2.0% income surtax incorporated into the December 2011 temporary payroll tax cut extension might apply.

The lighter gray zone indicates the incomes where a married individual's income may be affected by the surtax while the darker gray zone indicates the incomes where a married couple will definitely be exposed to the surtax (since married filers combine the incomes of two people, it's possible for their combined income to be above the $110,100 level, yet still not be individually subject to the new 2.0% surtax.)

Political Calculations

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