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/

Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper

3 Pages Posted: 11 May 2021

See all articles by Patricia A. Cain

Patricia A. Cain

Santa Clara University - School of Law

Date Written: March 31, 2021

Abstract

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

Cain, Patricia A., The Unfairness of the Marriage Tax Penalty (March 31, 2021). 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/, Santa Clara Univ. Legal Studies Research Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3841767

Patricia A. Cain (Contact Author)

Santa Clara University - School of Law ( email )

500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053
United States

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