It’s tax season, and now we have an article claiming that taxes are racist: “Black married couples face heavier tax penalties than white couples,” and it’s pure BS. This is the logic:
When a Black or white couple have the same income, deductions and family structure, they will have the same tax liability, Gale said. But given the average economic differences between white and Black couples, according to the report, Black married couples are still more likely to face penalties and smaller bonuses.
Before tearing into the faulty logic here, I want to point out that “white” is not capitalized once in the article, while “Black” is capitalized every time. A bit of subtle “othering” that happens in journalism today.
So the taxes aren’t racist, it’s just that black married couples have more children than their white counterparts and taxpayers with children generally tend to face larger penalties under our current tax code. So it would be more accurate to say that the tax code discriminates against those with children.
I call bullshit on that, too. If a couple has a child, they get additional personal exemptions, they also get:
- child tax credit
- dependent care credit
- earned income credit
- adoption credit
- education credit
Let’s look at two married couples: they have the same income, same jobs, same financial situation. Each couple earns a combined $68,000 a year. Their employers withheld $5,000 from their paychecks for Federal taxes. The only difference is that couple one has no children, and couple two has two children.
Couple one is in the 12 percent tax bracket, with an effective tax rate of 11.03%. They will pay $4,644 in Federal income taxes this year, so they will get a $356 refund.
Couple two has two children. They are both latchkey children, so there are no childcare expenses to deduct. They are also in the 12 % bracket, and had the same effective tax rate as couple two. However, they get more credits, so only wind up paying a net $644 in Federal income tax, and will wind up with a refund of $4,356.
So if in fact black couples have more children that whites, blacks pay LESS in taxes.