Thank heavens for the standard deduction! In a rare flash of generosity, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives all taxpayers a sizable automatic deduction from their taxable income. For single taxpayers in 2013, the standard deduction is $6,100. But for married couples filing jointly, the deduction is exactly twice as much: $12,200. When you add in the personal and dependent exemptions you have some serious tax savings. The IRS reports than nearly two-thirds of all taxpayers take the standard deduction, and we don't blame them [source: Internal Revenue Service].
The standard deduction used to be one of the greatest causes of the marriage penalty. Before Congress passed the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the standard deduction for married couples was less than twice the amount for singles [source: Tax Policy Center]. While it didn't significantly contribute to the divorce rate, it was widely viewed as unfair. Now married couples can collect their full share of free deductions. Just don't rub it in to your single friends.
Now let's talk about another pleasant side effect of marriage: children.