Families for Tax Purposes: What About the Steps?

43 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2008 Last revised: 31 Jul 2008

See all articles by Wendy C. Gerzog

Wendy C. Gerzog

University of Baltimore - School of Law


At least 4.4 million families in the U.S. are blended ones that include step-children and step-parents. For tax purposes, these steps receive preferential treatment for their status because they are on the one hand included as family members for many income tax benefit sections, but on the other hand excluded as family members for business entity attribution purposes and for gift and estate tax anti-abuse provisions. In the interests of fairness and uniformity, steps should be treated as family members for all tax purposes where steps have in fact voluntarily acted as their biological or adoptive counterparts, both when such treatment would decrease and increase their tax burdens.

Keywords: definition of family, stepchild, stepparent, income tax, estate and gift tax, corporate tax

Suggested Citation

Gerzog, Wendy C., Families for Tax Purposes: What About the Steps?. University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform, Forthcoming, University of Baltimore School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-03, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1115043

Wendy C. Gerzog (Contact Author)

University of Baltimore - School of Law ( email )

1420 N. Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
United States
410-837-4522 (Phone)

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