|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
February 14, 2013
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Equality California Works With Assemblymember Ting and Supervisor Farrell to End Unfair Tax on Same-Sex Couples
(San Francisco) Equality California has partnered with Assemblymember Philip Y. Ting and San Francisco County Supervisor Mark Farrell to announce the introduction of AB 362, to provide tax relief for employees who receive reimbursement from their employer for federal taxes they paid on healthcare benefits provided to their same-sex partner and dependents.
The federal government assesses taxes on these benefits because it does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples. Similar benefits offered to heterosexual couples are not considered taxable. Under current state law, the reimbursements provided by an employer would be considered income to the employee, and subject to taxation by the state of California.
"We can't end DOMA from the statehouse, but we can make sure that California is not part of the problem. Equality California is so pleased to champion this legislation to right the wrong of loving same-sex couples being unfairly taxed," said John O'Connor, Equality California executive director.
“At the heart of this issue is a question of fairness for same-sex couples,” Ting said. “The federal policy to tax their benefits is discriminatory, and the last thing the state of California should do is make it harder to remedy the injustice by taxing the reimbursement of these costs,” he added.
“Same-sex couples should not be required to pay more income taxes than others simply due to the nature of their intimate partner relationship,” said Farrell. “This legislation will expand on, and strengthen, what we hope to enact in San Francisco,” he added.
Last November, Supervisor Farrell proposed a measure that, if enacted, would require City and County of San Francisco to reimburse its employees for federal taxes they must pay on benefits provided to a same-sex partner.
AB 362, authored by Ting and sponsored by Equality California, would cover people in a same-sex partner relationship who work for public entities, such as the City or County of San Francisco, or private sector companies that choose to reimburse their employees for federal taxes they pay on benefits received for their partner and dependents. Among the companies providing this type of reimbursement to employees are Google, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Facebook.
Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to a state with some of the most comprehensive human rights protections in the nation. Equality California has partnered with legislators to successfully sponsor more than 90 pieces of pro-equality legislation. EQCA continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org