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Gender & Taxes

Back in June, Jen Simon joined Professor Bridget Crawford of Pace University (the national expert on women and taxes, the "Pink Tax", the constitutionality of tampon taxes, wealth trusts and gender, author of Menstruation Matters, etc, etc--basically, a huge badass) to talk about Gender & Taxes.

Side note: Shout out to Sue Sommers who put the conversation together and is the beating heart behind Wyoming Tax Facts (formerly known as Tax Club).

Bridget explained that we see taxes as gender neutral, but they're really a reflection of all the people who put them together (read: white cishet men with power). Tax laws have highly gendered impacts, for example:

  • Joint income tax returns

  • Tax treatment of caregiving

  • Incentives for business formation

  • Tax enforcement patterns

  • Sales tax on menstrual products (Wyoming is one of the remaining states with this tax)

Bridget described some of the implicit taxes that make up the gender wage gap. Women's clothing costs more when women are buying clothing or paying to dry clean it--even when it doesn't cost more to make or clean. Pink razors, pink scooters, items branded specifically for women and girls all cost more than the same items branded for men and boys. It simply costs more to be a woman. (Life costs more at the same time the gender wage gap means most women have fewer economic resources and more debt, especially student loan debt.)

Other implicit taxes include things like the so-called "transportation tax." Women are more likely to work swing shifts and, therefore, have more unpredictable schedules. Those who rely on public transportation might find the routes dangerous or unreliable after dark. Rather than being able to use public transportation--usually the least expensive option--women may have to opt for more expensive modes of transportation to keep themselves safe.

Given her training as a tax and estate attorney, Bridget also dove right in to talk about how laws that encourage extreme wealth and allow concentrations of wealth to avoid taxation are further examples of a gendered tax system. Taxation is intended to support the common good, to provide services to everyone in the nation. Those who hold the majority of the nation's wealth are still men. Those who are the poorest in the nation are still women. When wealth is kept out of reach of the tax system, everyone loses. But those with the least--still women--lose the most.

Which is, in part, why it is so important that there are income tax provisions like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the refundable portion of Child Tax Credit. They are key for boosting women and children out of poverty.

Jen's component highlighted some of Wyoming's basics, things readers of this site will have heard before:


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