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Revisiting the Income Tax Effects of Legalizing Same-sex Marriages

Author

Listed:
  • James Alm

    () (Department of Economics, Tulane University)

  • J. Sebastian Leguizamon

    () (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University)

  • Susane Leguizamon

    () (Department of Economics, Western Kentucky University)

Abstract

In this paper, we estimate the impacts on income tax collections of legalizing same-sex marriage. We utilize new individual-level data sources to estimate the federal income tax consequences of legalizing same-sex marriages. These data sources also allow us to estimate the impact of legalization on state income tax collections. We find that 23 states would realize a net fiscal benefit from legalization, while 21 states w ould experience a decline in revenue. The potential (annual) changes in state tax revenue range from negative $29 million in California to positive $16 million in New York. At the federal level, our estimates suggest an overall reduction in revenues, ranging from a potential loss of $187 million to $580 million. Overall, we find that the federal and state impacts are quite modest. We also find that our estimates are only marginally affected by alternative assumptions about how many same-sex couples will choose to marry and which partner will claim any children for tax deduction purposes.

Suggested Citation

  • James Alm & J. Sebastian Leguizamon & Susane Leguizamon, 2014. "Revisiting the Income Tax Effects of Legalizing Same-sex Marriages," Working Papers 1402, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:tul:wpaper:1402
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    File URL: http://econ.tulane.edu/RePEc/pdf/tul1402.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alm, James & Badgett, M.V. Lee & Whittington, Leslie A., 2000. "Wedding Bell Blues: The Income Tax Consequences of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(2), pages 201-214, June.
    2. Stevenson, Adam, 2012. "The Labor Supply and Tax Revenue Consequences of Federal Same-Sex Marriage Legalization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 65(4), pages 783-806, December.
    3. Dan Black & Gary Gates & Seth Sanders & Lowell Taylor, 2000. "Demographics of the gay and lesbian population in the United States: Evidence from available systematic data sources," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 37(2), pages 139-154, May.
    4. John Graham & Jason Barr, 2008. "Assessing the geographic distribution of same sex and opposite sex couples across the United States: implications for claims of causality between traditional marriage and same sex unions," Review of Economics of the Household, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 347-367, December.
    5. Daniel Feenberg & Elisabeth Coutts, 1993. "An introduction to the TAXSIM model," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(1), pages 189-194.
    6. Frank F. Furstenberg, 2007. "Should government promote marriage?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 956-960.
    7. Paul R. Amato, 2007. "Strengthening marriage is an appropriate social policy goal," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(4), pages 952-955.
    8. Gale, William G. & Potter, Samara R., 2002. "An Economic Evaluation of the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 55(N. 1), pages 133-186, March.
    9. Alm, James & Badgett, M.V. Lee & Whittington, Leslie A., 2000. "Wedding Bell Blues: The Income Tax Consequences of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 53(n. 2), pages 201-14, June.
    10. Alm, James & Whittington, Leslie A., 1997. "Income taxes and the timing of marital decisions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 219-240, May.
    11. Thomas C. Buchmueller & Christopher S. Carpenter, 2012. "The Effect of Requiring Private Employers to Extend Health Benefit Eligibility to Same‐Sex Partners of Employees: Evidence from California," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(2), pages 388-403, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. James Alm, 2017. "Is Economics Useful for Public Policy?," Working Papers 1702, Tulane University, Department of Economics.
    2. James Alm, 2017. "Is Economics Useful for Public Policy?," Working Papers 1702, Tulane University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    marriage; individual income tax; marriage tax; taxable unit;

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J16 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination

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