Joint income tax assailed (8-1-41)

The Pittsburgh Press (August 1, 1941)


House proposal denounced as unconstitutional

Washington, Aug. 1 (UP) –
The mandatory joint income tax return requirement of the new $3,500,000,000 tax bill was denounced in the House yesterday as a backward step away from equal rights for women.

Representative Thomas A. Jenkins (R-OH), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, charged the requirement is not only a retrogression in the women’s rights fight but is unconstitutional. He said its effect in many cases would be to compute one spouse’s tax liability on the basis of the other spouse’s income.

His attack came during the second day of general debate on the huge measure, on which a final House vote is not expected until Monday.

Several supporters of the joint return defend it as the only fair means of compelling high-income residents of community property states to compute their income taxes on the same basis as persons on other states.

In states having community property laws, a man and wife may divide their combined income equally for tax computation purposes and file individual returns on that basis. In other states, income may not be so divided. In many cases the effect is that the tax liability is less in the community property states.

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