James Logan Clark - Page 4

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          his Social Security benefits, we do not have the authority to               
          disregard the express provisions of a statute enacted by Congress           
          even where the result in a particular case may seem harsh.  See,            
          e.g., Everage v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo. 1997-373.                         
               In essence, petitioner questions the fairness of section 86.           
          However, this is not the proper forum to question the policy                
          considerations that impelled the enactment of this legislation.             
          “Normally, a legislative classification will not be set aside if            
          any state of facts rationally justifying it is demonstrated to or           
          perceived by the courts.”  United States v. Maryland Savings-               
          Share Ins. Corp., 400 U.S. 4, 6 (1970).  The legislative history            
          of section 86, as enacted by the Social Security Amendments of              
          1983, Pub. L. 98-21, sec. 121(a), 97 Stat. 80, demonstrates that            
          Congress had a valid and rational basis for establishing a base             
          amount of zero for married taxpayers who lived with their spouse            
          for any part of the taxable year and file separate returns:                 
                    The base amount is * * * zero in the case of a                    
               married individual filing a separate return, unless he                 
               or she lived apart from his or her spouse for the                      
               entire taxable year; * * *                                             
                    The base amount is zero for married individuals                   
               filing separate returns because the committee believes                 
               that the family should be treated as an integral unit                  
               in determining the amount of social security benefit                   
               that is includible in gross income under this                          
               provision.  If the base amount for these individuals                   
               were higher, couples who are otherwise subject to tax                  
               on their benefits and whose incomes are relatively                     
               equally divided would be able to reduce substantially                  
               the amount of benefits subject to tax by filing                        
               separate returns.  [S. Rept. 98-23, at 27 (1983), 1983-                
               2 C.B. 326, 328.]                                                      

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