Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Stephanie McMahon (Cincinnati) presents Tax Filing in the U.K.: A Guide for the U.S. When Eliminating the Marriage Penalty today at Pittsburgh as part of the Cincinnati-Pittsburgh Scholar Exchange Program. Here is the abstract:
The United States is one of the last remaining countries that use the joint return for tax filing; most other countries have adopted individual filing. In 1990, the United Kingdom transitioned from a tax system that required husbands and wives to file as a marital unit to one that requires individual filing, and so it has almost two decades experience with the new regime. Although the U.K. ought to be a natural example for the U.S. if the U.S. government decided to change its filing requirements, little research that is available to American scholars has been done on the British transition. Looking first at the origins of the mandatory joint return requirement, this paper will then examine the forces that drove the change to individual filing, the groups that advocated and opposed it, and, perhaps most importantly, the consequences of this shift in British law. Evaluating the change in the U.K., including the changed situation of wives and the potential for tax avoidance, this paper will then explore its implications as a model for the U.S. In doing so, it will use a comparative approach to assess the potential costs and benefits of changing tax units.