Continuing with my list of reforms I think would help our tax system (see prior lists of 8/29/21 and 6/21/21), here are three more.

1. Consolidating education provisions further. Need to better identify purpose of these provisions and if their “cost” is appropriate and in line with direct spending such as Pell grants.

2. If higher education incentives are retained, be sure they also cover post-secondary trade schools and only for reasonable costs.

3. Make the IRC gender neutral – “his” is often used in the Code, sometimes even to describe a business (such as at §446(a)). Also, references to husband and wife should be changed to spouses.

Examples:

  • §213 – Medical, dental, etc., expenses. (a) Allowance of deduction. There shall be allowed as a deduction the expenses paid during the taxable year, not compensated for by insurance or otherwise, for medical care of the taxpayer, his spouse, or a dependent (as defined in section 152, determined without regard to subsections (b)(1), (b)(2), and (d)(1)(B) thereof), to the extent that such expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income.
  • §446(a) – General Rule. Taxable income shall be computed under the method of accounting on the basis of which the taxpayer regularly computes his income in keeping his books.
  • §7701(a)(17) defines “husband and wife”.
  • §121(d)(1) – “If a husband and wife made a joint return for the taxable year of the sale or exchange of the property, ….”

While Rev. Rul. 2013-17 suggests a gender-neutral reading of the Internal Revenue Code, changes have not been made throughout.