Who’s on (the 1040) First? Determinants and Consequences of Spouses’ Name Order on Joint Returns
Married couples filing a joint return put the male name first 88.1% of the time in tax year 2020, down from 97.3% in 1996. The man’s name is more likely to go first the larger is the fraction of the couple’s allocable income that goes to him, and the older is the couple. Based on state averages, putting the man’s name first is strongly associated with conservative religious attitudes, religiosity, and a survey-based measure of sexist attitudes. Risk-taking and tax noncompliance are both associated with the man’s name going first, but the opposite is true for charitable giving.