Washington Law Review


For a period of over twenty years the eight community property states have enjoyed the privilege of dividing the total community income of the husband and wife between the spouses for income tax purposes and thus, in the higher income brackets at least, effecting a sizable reduction in tax liability. The basis for this benefit is found in the decisions of the United States Supreme Court, especially in the case of Poe v. Sanborn, wherein the court held that because under the local law of Washington a wife had a vested interest in one half of the community property she could therefore file a separate return on one half of all income earned by the community. The income tax privilege of the community property states has long been under attack, both through attempts to induce the court to overrule the doctrine of Poe v. Seaborn, and through proposals made to Congress to amend the revenue acts so that the discrepancy would be eliminated. The purpose herein will be to investigate these attacks and to evaluate their merits and possibilities of success.

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