Gay News From Around The Globe

The IRS Reminds Lesbian and Gay Couples They Are Second Class Citizens

In 1996 The Defense of Marriage Act banned any federal recognition of gay couples, but now more than 15 states do recognize some form of legal partnerships  So in fairness last year the IRS changed the code I.R.S. so that  same-sex couples in states with community property laws (California, Nevada and Washington) could combine and then split their incomes for their federal returns.which can lower tax brackets and overall taxes paid if one spouse earns more.  It looked great on paper, but the IRS seems to be having trouble actually doing it and is causing headaches and extra expense for at least 60,000 in the state of California alone not to mention other states that have approves same-sex marriage and same-sex legal partnerships.

One of the most disturbing snafu’s have happened to about 300 couples in California who were sent terse letters from the IRS after they filed which said:  “Your return includes income or tax liability for more than one taxpayer, other than husband and wife,” the letters read. Note: the wording “husband and wife”.  I.R.S. has stated  that the letters had been “incorrectly sent” because of a processing error and that it “apologizes for this mistake and that the manager whose stamped signature was “system-generated.”

But Toni Broaddus and Janice Wells who were married  in California in 2008, still received a April.  “We were upset and we were angry when we got the letter.  I felt like we were being harassed by someone in the government who works for the I.R.S.  You do everything you can and you get this letter. It was a reminder that we’re second-class citizens” said Toni Broaddus

Tax experts Tax experts who brought the letters to the attention of the I.R.S. are also wondering if anti-gay I.R.S. employees were acting out of malice. “It’s either intentional or ignorance,” said Pan Haskins, an tax consultant who had been tracking the letters.

And to add insult to injury it seems to takes 5 or 10 times as long to do some of these returns and because of the complexity many same-sex couples have to buy special tax filing software, or are  forced to hire tax professionals to get it done and that can cost anything from from double past rates to as high as $4,000 for some returns so a lot of couples just aren’t filing them because of the expense and hassle.

This is just really another argument against DOMA and proves that there is no such thing as a fair way to be separate from “marriage” and still be equal courtesy of the IRS.



Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

Related Articles

What do you think?