To Work, or Not to Work? The Immortal Tax Disincentives for Married Women
28 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009 Last revised: 27 Jul 2013
Date Written: August 6, 2009
Among the most fundamental barriers to the aggressive participation of many married women in the work force are the disincentives for secondary income earners embedded in the federal tax code. Specifically, the current code contains a marriage penalty, which is aggravated by the progressive nature of taxation and any potential increases in income taxation. Meanwhile, child care expenses, a prerequisite for entry to the labor market, are treated inadequately. Although these immortal problems persist despite political pushes for relief, new attention to this topic is warranted given the Obama Administration’s pledge for tax law reform. If the principle to be prioritized is that married women should not face tax disincentives to pursue paid work, then the tax code must finally deal with these issues effectively.
Keywords: federal income taxation, tax, marriage penalty, marriage bonus, family law
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