Marriage taxation presents a "trilemma": An income tax cannot simultaneously maintain progressive marginal tax rates, an equal tax burden for all married couples with identical incomes ("couples equity"), and neutrality with respect to the tax burden of married versus unmarried couples ("marriage neutrality"). In this Article, I assume that the principles of couples equity and marriage neutrality both have merit. Alternatively, I assume that the principles proxy for some more fundamental principles that result in an analogous trilemma. I also assume that the costs of deviations from either principle are convex; large deviations from either principle are disproportionately distasteful relative to small deviations.
Date of Authorship for this Version
Listokin, Yair, "Taxation and Marriage: A Reappraisal" (2014). Faculty Scholarship Series. Paper 4909.