The Unfairness of the Marriage Tax Penalty
Published by Bloomberg Tax. Reproduced with permission. Published March 31, 2021. Copyright 2021 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. 800-372- 1033. For further use, please visit https://www.bloombergindustry.com/copyright-and-usage-guidelines-copyright/
3 Pages Posted: 11 May 2021
Date Written: March 31, 2021
In this essay Professor Cain identifies several instances in which the Internal Revenue Code imposes a penalty on married couples. This penalty occurs for married couples both at the low end and the high end of income levels. She is especially critical of the $10,000 limitation on the deductibility of state and local income taxes. While the deduction for property taxes may be harder to justify, the deduction for state income taxes serves the purpose of horizontal equity by adjusting the tax burden on individual taxpayers in high income tax states as compared with individuals in low or no income tax states. If the limitation is justified at all it should be applied per taxpayer rather than per married couple.
Keywords: Income Tax, SALT Deductions, State Income Taxes, Taxation of Social Security Benefits, Dependent Care Credit, Marriage Penalty
JEL Classification: H29, K34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation