Stephanie Hunter McMahon

Headshot of Stephanie Hunter McMahon

Stephanie Hunter McMahon

Professor of Law, College of Law

513 College of Law Building


Areas of Interest: Legal History, Taxation


Professor McMahon teaches courses in tax law and legal history, and her research often combines her interest in these areas.  Professor McMahon’s scholarship focuses on the historical relationship between taxation and the public’s perception of taxation and, from that relationship, discovers lessons for improving today’s law.  In particular, Professor McMahon’s work has explored how women have been, and continue to be, affected by taxation, and how women have used issues of taxation to further their own rights.  Her writings have been published in peer-reviewed journals, Florida Tax ReviewLaw and History Review, and Pittsburgh Tax Review, as well as student-reviewed journals, Northwestern Law ReviewHarvard Journal of Law and GenderJournal of Legislation (Notre Dame), Nevada Law JournalWisconsin Journal of Law, Gender & Society and blogs, The Hill.

A summa cum laude graduate of Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, GA (BA), a cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School, and a graduate with a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, Prior to joining the academic world, Professor McMahon spent several years practicing in the tax field.  She worked as a tax attorney at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York and at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, also in New York. A former Samuel I. Golieb fellow, during graduate school, she worked at Nixon, Peabody LLP in Washington, D.C.  


BA, Oglethorpe University
JD, Harvard Law School
MA, University of Virginia
PhD, University of Virginia

Courses Taught

  • Federal Income Tax
  • Business Tax I (formation and distribution)
  • Business Tax II (mergers, acquisitions, liquidations)
  • Tax Policy
  • American Legal History



  • “Should Divorce Be More Taxing?: Structuring Tax Reduction to Reduce Inequality,” Indiana Journal of Law & Social Equality 3 (2015): 74-125 (symposium).
  • “Gendering the Marriage Penalty,” in Controversies in Tax Law: A Matter of Perspective (edited by Anthony Infanti, 2015):  27-46.
  • “Bundle of Confusion for the Income Tax:  What It Means to Own Something,” Northwestern Law Review 109 (2014):  959-88.
  • “What Innocent Spouse Relief Says About Wives and the Rest of Us,” Harvard Journal of Law and Gender 37 (2014):  141-84.
  • “An Empirical Study of Innocent Spouse Relief:  Do Courts Implement Congress’s Legislative Intent?” Florida Tax Review 12 (2012): 629-707 (peer review).
  • “Political Hot Potato:  How Closing Loopholes Can Get Policymakers Cooked,” Journal of Legislation (Notre Dame) 37 (2012): 142-178.
  • “To Have and to Hold:  What Does Love (of Money) Have to Do with Federal Tax Filing?” Nevada Law Journal 11(2011): 718-758.
  • “London Calling: Does the U.K.’s Experience with Individual Taxation Clash With the U.S.’s Expectations?” St. Louis University Law Journal 55 (2010): 159-220 (symposium).
  • “California Women: Using Federal Taxes to Put the ‘Community’ in Community Property,” Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, & Society 25 (2010): 35-72.
  • To Save State Residents: States’ Use of Community Property for Federal Tax Reduction, 1939-1947, 27 Law & Hist. Rev. 585 (2009)
  • A Law with a Life of Its Own: The Development of the Federal Income Tax Statutes through World War I, 7 Pitt. Tax Rev. ___ (2009)
  • You Pay for What You Get: The U.S. Virgin Islands, 1917-1936, 41 J. Caribbean Hist. 109 (2007)

Essays and Other Publications

  • (Un)intended Consequences of Death Tax Repeal, The Hill, April 29, 2015, available at
  • National Public Radio, Getting Married Can Cost You at Tax Time, April 6, 2015, available at
  • “Limited In Its Sphere, Infinite In Its Power,” in Teaching Legal History: Comparative Perspectives (edited by Robert Jarvis, 2014): 137-40.
  • “Fiscal and Budgetary Policy,” “Securities and Exchange Commission,” “United States Women’s Bureau,” and “Social Welfare Policy,” in Encyclopedia of U.S. Political History, 1921-1945, Volume 5, (MTM Publishing, 2010).
  • “Tracking Tracking Stock” in Tax Strategies for Corporate Acquisitions, Dispositions, Spin Offs, Joint Ventures, Corporate Reorganizations and Restructurings 2002, written in cooperation with Stuart Finkelstein and Joseph Todd.
  • Book Review of More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, by John R. Lott, Harvard Journal on Legislation 37 (2000): 293-306.