Originally Posted by dixon76710
People have to pay income tax whether they're married or not. Being married doesn't give you a right to pay no, or even less taxes (usually the opposite occurs). It just changes whether the income and deductions are associated with two individuals or one couple. It let's folks who have chosen to live together merge their finances without the need to keep a separate accounting for the IRS.
As for estate taxes... when folks marry, the marriage forms a union of the two. They merge their lives -- social, legal, and financial. Yes, you can keep some stuff outside of the marriage (can be complicated to do so), but if your spouse dies without making arrangements for those assets the law recognizes you've lived one life. It doesn't tax the surviving spouse for 'inheriting' stuff that was owned by either individual. Because their life, was also yours.
There's no reward for being married. The laws just accommodate the decision of two people to live as one, and attempts to be fair to that couple in a society where the laws generally expect to deal with individuals living individual lives.