COLUMBUS—State Representatives John Becker (R-Union Township) and David Leland (D-Columbus) yesterday introduced House Bill 333 to eliminate Ohio’s marriage penalty tax.

A married couple with each person working full time, and earning minimum wage, paid an Ohio Marriage Penalty of $159 for tax year 2016. This legislation simply aims to limit a married couple’s tax liability.

Current Ohio law requires that an individual’s state filing status (single, married filing joint, married filing separate, etc.) match the federal filing status. However, filing jointly as a married couple in the state of Ohio is not usually the best option, as compared to at the federal level. This bill would allow married couples to file jointly as a married couple on their federal tax returns and file separately on their state tax returns.

The bill sponsors hope to emphasize that this change supports Ohio families and reinforces the importance of marriage, while providing an avenue for the best financial option for married couples. 

“In brief, the marriage penalty is simply the difference between the total income tax that a married couple will pay compared to two single people,” said Rep. Becker. “Filing both federal and Ohio tax returns separately is often worse than filing both jointly. Ohio’s tax code is a lose-lose situation for married taxpayers. House Bill 333 fixes that.”

“Ohioans shouldn’t be forced to pay higher taxes just because they get married,” said Rep. Leland, who introduced the same bill in 1983. “This bipartisan legislation will eliminate the Ohio marriage penalty and allow over two-and-a-half-million Ohioans to keep more of their hard-earned dollars.”

The legislation now awaits referral to an Ohio House committee for further consideration.

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