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33 Case Western Reserve Law Review 439 (1983)


The capital gains preference has been viewed as a means by which taxpayers are spared being taxed fully in a single year for income earned over a number of previous years. This Article argues that the tax preference for capital gains was intended to provide economic incentives by encouraging transferability, risk, and investment, not to achieve equity by a crude form of income averaging. This Article critically evaluates judicial doctrine in light of these economic policies and concludes that courts have not effectively bridged the gap between policy and the statutory language and structure. The author explains how the tax treatment of capital gains could be improved and examines the obstacles to improvement.