FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 9, 2010
CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Communications Director
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: vaishalee AT eqca DOT org
Equality California Commends New IRS Policy that Grants Greater Tax Equity to Same-Sex Couples
Federal policy recognizes benefits first afforded to same-sex couples in 2003 domestic partnership legislation sponsored by Equality California
Sacramento—The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently issued a new policy that, for the first time, recognizes the state's community property laws for same-sex couples in registered domestic partnerships and requires California's same-sex couples registered as domestic partners to combine their incomes and report half on their individual tax returns.
Under the new tax policy, the federal government will now recognize California's community property rights that were first afforded to same-sex couples through the Domestic Partners Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003, an Equality California-sponsored bill that made California the second state in the nation to provide sweeping legal protections for committed same-sex couples. In addition, domestic partners will be allowed to amend past returns pursuant to this regulation if they wish, which could result in significant refunds for tens of thousands of Californians who paid discriminatory taxes during the past several years.
"We welcome news of this policy change that will result in significant savings for many same-sex couples, which is especially important at a time when many are struggling in a brutal economy," said Geoff Kors, Equality California Equality Director. "Although the federal government has taken an important step forward in recognizing the relationships of same-sex couples, Equality California will continue fighting for full equality so that couples no longer face a complex, arbitrary system born out of denying lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Californians complete equality under the law."
Same-sex couples who are legally married or registered as domestic partners in their home state are prohibited from filing federal taxes jointly, due to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriages between one man and one woman and bars federal agencies from interpreting it otherwise.
Currently, there are over 58,000 couples in California registered as domestic partners who will be directly affected by the new policy. Additionally, there are eight other states with community property laws in place that require married couples to treat all income as joint property.
To find out more information about Equality California's sponsored legislation, visit www.eqca.org/legislation.
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