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I just noticed a slight discrepancy between the US Federal tax brackets for Single filers and those for Married Filing Separately.

From this Morgan Stanley pdf:

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These are identical up to the last tax bracket, which begins at ~$300k for those married-filing-separately - but at more than $500k for single individuals.

I think this means that married-filing-separately individuals with very high incomes will pay somewhat less than 2% more in federal income tax than those who are single. Is there any political justification/history for this seemingly strange discrepancy?

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    Re I think this means that married-filing-separately individuals with very high incomes will pay somewhat less than 2% more in federal income tax than those who are single. You have it backwards. For those with very high taxable incomes (those making more than $523,600/year), someone who is married filing separately will pay $4189 more than someone with the same very high taxable income who is filing as single. Jun 14, 2021 at 19:37
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    For people with taxable incomes between $314,150 and $523,600, the married filing separately will pay the same or more than those filing as single, varying from $0 at $314,150 taxable income to $4189 at $523,600 taxable income. With regard to why, I haven't the foggiest, which is why I made these comments comments. Jun 14, 2021 at 19:38
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    Nuts. I read your question incorrectly. You had the sense correct; married filing separately pays more than single. But the maximum discrepancy is $4189. This is a pittance for someone making $100 million. For someone making $523600, where the relative discrepancy is the greatest, that $4189 difference amounts to 0.8% rather than 2%. Jun 14, 2021 at 21:00

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Historically, married filing separately brackets were exactly half of married filing jointly and this continues to be the case almost all of the time.

Historically, this generally produced higher taxes for people filing married filing separately than for people filing as single with the same income.

Since people generally file married filing separately to gain some tax advantage or are in that situation temporarily due to non-cooperation of the parties in a pending divorce, this wasn't very concerning to most policy makers at the time. The historical married filing jointly rates were set so that roughly half of married people received a marriage bonus, while roughly half received a marriage penalty.

Subsequently, this was reformed to eliminate the marriage penalty that married couples who file jointly experience relative to two single people filing, when their incomes are very nearly equal. (Most married couples have very unequal incomes and in those cases, married couples pay significantly lower taxes than they would if each of them separately filed as single and the reform, in general, benefitted married couples whether or not their incomes were similar and caused them to experience a "marriage penalty.")

While most of the tax brackets were reformed to eliminate the "marriage penalty", the statute enacting the 37% income tax bracket, passed in December of 2017 and effective in 2018, was not among them.

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