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Legislation

2012

University of Cincinnati College of Law

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Political Hot Potato: How Closing Loopholes Can Get Policymakers Cooked, Stephanie Mcmahon Jan 2012

Political Hot Potato: How Closing Loopholes Can Get Policymakers Cooked, Stephanie Mcmahon

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Loopholes in the law are weaknesses that allow the law to be circumvented. Once created, they prove hard to eliminate. Acase study of the evolving tax unit used in the federal income tax explores policymakers' response to loopholes. The1913 income tax created an opportunity for wealthy married couples to shift ownership of family income between spouses, then to file separately, and, as a result, to reduce their collective taxes. In 1948, Congress closed this loophole by extending the income-splitting benefit to all married taxpayers filing jointly. Congress acted only after the federal judiciary and Treasury Department pleaded for congressional ...