Monday, November 5, 2012
Lisa Philipps (Osgoode) presents Income Splitting and Gender Equality: The Case for Incentivizing Intra-household Wealth Transfers at McGill today as part of its Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Allison Christians:
In this chapter, I examine the problem of income splitting under an individual tax unit and Canadian legal developments that have expanded the scope for such tax planning by spouses. Income splitting poses a dilemma for tax policy analysts concerned with gender equality because, left unchecked, it opens a back door to joint taxation, with its troubling impact on labour-market incentives for secondary earners, who are mainly women. Yet ignoring intra-familial transfers in order to prevent income splitting may disrespect women’s individual agency over property to which they hold legal title, and it may close off a potential source of economic power for those who do the bulk of the unpaid work in a household. This tax policy dilemma engages fundamental, normative debates about the meaning of gender equality and whether it is possible to enhance women’s access to markets while also valuing and compensating their unpaid contributions.