Equality California
Equality California Resolution Urging Tax Equity for Domestic Partners Approved by Assembly

2010 Press Releases

April 22, 2010

CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: vaishalee AT eqca DOT org

Equality California Resolution Urging Tax Equity for Domestic Partners Approved by Assembly

Sacramento -- Just one week after Californians filed their state taxes, the California State Assembly approved Assembly Joint Resolution 29 with bipartisan support in a vote of 59-5. The measure, authored by Assembly member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) and sponsored by Equality California, urges the IRS to change a policy that now requires many same-sex couples to file two federal tax returns and pay unfairly high taxes because the federal government fails to recognize how California applies its community property laws to same-sex couples.

"Today, Democrats and Republicans joined together to demand that the federal government stop its current policy discriminating against same-sex couples when it comes to taxes," said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California. "It is time for the federal government to work together to make a real difference in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples."

In February 2006, the IRS issued a memorandum stating that California registered domestic partners could not claim a community property interest in their income for federal income tax purposes. Instead, California registered domestic partners must report their incomes separately to the federal government. However, California statutes and case law confirm that registered domestic partners and married same-sex couples whose marriages remain valid under California law have the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples, including rights with respect to community property. California treats income of registered domestic partners and married couples as community property. Since federal case law holds that states, not the federal government, determine the characteristics of property ownership, the IRS should defer to California law in this instance.

"The IRS's refusal to accept how California treats same-sex couples' property means these couples suffer unequal tax treatment," Feuer said. "Who else has to file two federal tax returns, let alone pay unfairly high taxes--all because the IRS flouts settled constitutional rules? It's long past time for the IRS to respect California law and honor the rights of California's same-sex couples."

The joint resolution seeks tax equity for California resident same-sex couples who have community property arising from their status as registered domestic partners or from their marriages.

AJR 29 will now be considered in the California Senate.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil rights protections in the nation. Equality California has passed over 60 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org