In the 1990s, there was much discussion about how the tax code penalized married couples. But many of the issues were addressed in the 2001 tax law. Imagine a single woman who makes $84,500 and takes the standard deduction. Her federal income-tax bill in 2014 would be $14,444, assuming the entire sum was taxed as ordinary income. What if she got married? If her new spouse had the same $84,500 income, their combined $169,000 income would be taxed no more heavily than if they remained single.