Saturday, December 5, 2009
Steve Black (
Our tax system, while frequently criticized for its complexity, has the flexibility to encourage or influence behavior. It is used to try to influence people‘s spending habits to "jump-start" the economy or encourage businesses to buy more fixed assets. Tax law may even help to channel marital and family decisions. Frequently the proponents of same-sex marriage cite the difference in tax treatment as one of the reasons that same-sex couples receive discriminatory treatment. The tax code contains provisions that benefit only married individuals and families. These benefits provide hundreds to thousands of dollars in tax relief to individuals, but only if those individuals fall into prescribed categories. This article explores those categories, and the extent to which the preference for married couples with children furthers one of the goals of society, which is to perpetuate itself.