Section I of this comment considers the early income tax code, its focus on individual filing, and how early decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States led Congress to adopt optional joint filing for married couples. Section II analyzes the joint return, tax norms, and arguments of proponents and opponents of the joint return. Section III analyzes structural issues raised by a return to an individual filing system, as well as why an individual filing system is superior to a joint filing system given the changes in American society. It also discusses a proposal to resolve an inequity that may be caused by a return to individual filing. The comment concludes that the joint return should be replaced with individual filing because individual filing better reflects today's family compositions.
Erik Baines, Comment, Filing Status and Today's Families, 47 U. Rich. L. Rev. 729 (2013).