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Marriage And Taxes: What Can We Learn From Tax Returns Filed By Cohabiting Couples?

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  • Lin, Emily Y.
  • Tong, Patricia K.
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    Abstract

    This paper analyzes the relationship between marriage and taxes by examining federal income tax returns filed by cohabiting couples. We use tax return data to estimate the tax consequences of marriage for cohabiting couples by comparing their tax liabilities from their separately filed returns to the tax they would owe if they were married and filed jointly. Under 2007 law, we determine that 48 percent of couples in our sample would have a marriage penalty and 38 percent would have a marriage bonus. We explain these results by examining the couples’ family characteristics and various components of the tax system.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by National Tax Association in its journal National Tax Journal.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 807-26

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    Handle: RePEc:ntj:journl:v:65:y:2012:i:4:p:807-26

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    1. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
    2. Dickert-Conlin, Stacy & Houser, Scott, 1998. "Taxes and Transfers: A New Look at the Marriage Penalty," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, National Tax Association, vol. 51(n. 2), pages 175-217, June.
    3. Eissa, Nada & Hoynes, Hilary Williamson, 2000. "Explaining the Fall and Rise in the Tax Cost of Marriage: The Effect of Tax Laws and Demographic Trends, 1984-97," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 3), pages 683-712, September.
    4. Sjoquist, David L. & Walker, Mary Beth, 1995. "The Marriage Tax and the Rate and Timing of Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, National Tax Association, vol. 48(4), pages 547-58, December.
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