Equality California
Legislature Approves Tax Relief Bill for Same-Gender Couples

2008 Press Releases

August 13, 2008

CONTACT: Ali Bay, Communications Manager
PHONE: (916) 284-9187 EMAIL: ali@eqca.org

Legislature Approves Tax Relief Bill for Same-Gender Couples

Migden Bill, Sponsored by EQCA, Would Allow Unmarried Home Owners to Avoid Unfair Property Tax Increases

SACRAMENTO – The Legislature has approved a bill that would allow two people, including seniors and same-gender couples, who co-own a home together to avoid an unfair property tax increase upon the death of one co-owner.

The Assembly on Tuesday approved Senate Bill 153 with a 42-23 vote. The measure is authored by Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, and sponsored by Equality California. The bill must return to the Senate for a concurrence vote before going to the governor’s desk.

“Seniors and same-gender couples who are unmarried should not have to face the heavy burden and stress of losing their home when their loved one dies,” said EQCA Executive Director Geoff Kors. “Without this legislation, surviving partners would be subject to unfair property tax reassessments that could force them out of the home they have lived in for years, if not decades. This situation could be especially tragic for seniors who may not have retirement plans or supportive family members to rely on in times of need,” Kors said.

Under California law, married spouses, domestic partners and other family members are exempt from tax reassessments on their homes when a loved one dies or a relationship is ended, forcing a change in ownership. Likewise, SB 153 would protect unmarried co-owners from an increased tax burden when a property changes hands. The bill includes measures that will protect the state against fraud and abuse, including the requirement that co-owners share a home for at least one year in order to be eligible for the exemption.

"I'm pleased the Assembly has approved SB 153," said Sen. Migden. "This bill will protect some of the most vulnerable Californians from losing their homes or suffering an undue financial blow at the worst of times – when a loved one or person they depended upon for support passes away."

Founded in 1998, Equality California celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2008, commemorating a decade of building a state of equality in California. EQCA is a nonprofit, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. www.eqca.org

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