This course traces the history of filing statuses and how community property law was central to forcing Congress to create filing statuses, and how filing statues are still a thorny issue in tax law.

Learning Objectives
  • Discover and understand the earliest form of taxation, from 1862.
  • Explore how taxes worked when our current version of the tax code started in 1913.
  • Explore how taxes changed once the U.S. entered World War I.
  • Identify and understand the basics of community property law.
  • Identify how community property law created a loophole in the tax law.
  • Explore and understand the debate over how to tax married couples in the 1920s.
  • Identify the key Supreme Court case (Poe vs. Seaborn) from 1930.
  • Discover and understand how filing statuses worked when Congress created them in 1948.
  • Identify key changes to tax law through the years after 1948 relating to filing statuses.
  • Discover and understand how the marriage penalty works.
  • Recognize and understand how tax law still creates oddities where sometimes married couples pay more in taxes, and sometimes less in taxes, by either getting married or by staying single.
Last updated/reviewed: August 26, 2023
7 Reviews (33 ratings)


Anonymous Author
Excellent history of Individual tax law in the US from 1982 to Present Day. Topics included of creation of Marriage Penalty Tax and how the Legislature took steps to remove this issue.

Member's Profile
Absolutely love that you combined taxes and history. I'd be interested in other topics like this. Highly recommend this course to others, as it's really interesting and flies by.

Anonymous Author
Unusual and intriguing historic perspective on taxation of married couples. From my favorite CPE instructor!

Anonymous Author
a fun easy class to pick up one hour of CPE i did not like the yellow highlight in the body of the course

Anonymous Author
This course was very informative and gives interesting perspectives for anyone who pays taxes.

Member's Profile
Very interesting, I learned a few things. I enjoyed the historical perspective

Anonymous Author
I enjoyed this course and would recommend it to anyone who prepares tax returns.

Course Complexity: Foundational
No advanced preparation or prerequisites are required for this course.
Education Provider Information
Company: Illumeo, Inc., 75 East Santa Clara St., Suite 1215, San Jose, CA 95113
Contact: For more information regarding this course, including complaint and cancellation policies, please contact our offices at (408) 400- 3993 or send an e-mail to .
Instructor for this course
Course Syllabus
  Course Plan1:52
  Marriage in Tax Code in 1862 and 191315:10
  Community Property States - Part 18:42
  Community Property States - Part 1 Cont'd9:32
  Community Property States - Part 215:52
  A Brief History of Marriage in Tax Code51:08
  Slides: A Brief History of Marriage in the Tax CodePDF
  A Brief History of Marriage in the Tax Code Glossary/IndexPDF