Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Be Gay in New York...

 Yesterday, a bill was introduced that would grant married gay couples the ability to file state taxes in New York, if passed.  It's a leap forward considering New York doesn't recognize gay marriage...

New York assemblyman Daniel O’Donnel introduced a bill Tuesday that would grant greater tax equity to gay and lesbian couples.  Current state law forbids gay couples from filing joint income tax returns. The Defense of Marriage Act forbids the recognition of same-sex unions by federal agencies, including the IRS. In New York, an individual’s income tax filing status mirrors his or her federal status. Meaning, if a gay couple cannot file joint federal income tax returns, they may not file jointly in the state.  If passed, the proposed bill would allow married gay couples to file jointly on their state tax returns in spite of their federal status, said On Top MagazineAlthough gay marriages performed in New York are not legal, the state recognizes unions performed in other jurisdictions.

“New York State must remove every statutory barrier to the full recognition of legal same-sex marriages,” O’Donnel said. “Gay and lesbian spouses deserve every financial benefit that currently accrues to heterosexual married couples, regardless of whether or not the federal government recognizes those unions.”  State legislators are making great strides toward equal tax treatment for same sex couples. Still, some activists wonder: Are these new efforts helpful?  Last spring, Washington state lawmakers introduced an initiative that would tax the earnings of same-sex couples in domestic partnerships as they would married couples.  According to Komo News, “I-1077 would tax couples with adjusted gross incomes greater than $400,000 annually, or incomes of more than $200,000 for individuals.”  Gay advocates have expressed concerns that filing joint tax returns would result in unfair penalties for gay couples where only one partner makes more than $200,000.  “You would have seen gay and lesbian families paying significantly more taxes than their similarly situated heterosexual peers,” said Josh Friedes of Equal Rights Washington.


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