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TAX DAY

IRS Forces Gay Parents To Lie About Marital Status, Cheating Two Million Children Of Benefits

Gay parents find themselves in quite a pickle on Tax Day (did you file yet? deadline’s today), especially if they’ve got more than one kid. One parent claims one or more child as his/her own, and the other claims the others as his/her own. Essentially you’ve got two people living in the same house each acting as single parents to their kids.

The result: nearly two million children who are brought up by an LGBT couple or an LGBT parent aren’t able to receive the tax breaks their families deserve.

Good Morning America explored the issue today:

Tom Bourdon and his husband Jimmy have been legally married for seven years and are raising two children in a home they jointly own in suburban Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004.

But this weekend, as they finish up their taxes, filing a joint state return as a married couple, they will have to essentially lie to Uncle Sam about the most essential aspects of their life.

They will file two separate tax returns and “divide up” their two children—Lukas, 2, and Maya, 6 months—so that they can claim child-related exemptions, deductions, and credits.

Married same-sex couples cannot file jointly, and instead must misrepresent themselves as “single” on their federal tax forms, sacrificing the $1,000 deduction for married couple.

And it’s all because of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which refuses to recognize same-sex marriages on the federal level—in defiance of the seven states like Massachusetts and New York who have legalized the measure.

Says Bourdon: “It feels really strange to be forced to lie. Ethically speaking, we are doing what we are supposed to do and at the same time be accurate. It’s a Catch-22. The government forces you into it and there’s no way around it … but we are literally not recognized.”

ThinkProgress has more on the “Top 5 Ways Marriage Inequality Hurts Gay Couples During Tax Season,” and the only way to make these problems go away is by repealing DOMA.

photo by: kenteegardin
By:           Evan Mulvihill
On:           Apr 17, 2012
Tagged:
  • 10 Comments
    • Clockwork
      Clockwork

      The problem can be solved by eliminating the filing status of:
      Single, Married filing jointly or Qualifying widow(er), Married filing separately, and Head of household.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 7:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Steve
      Steve

      The problem will go away when the DOMA statute is either repealed or invalidated by the courts. The Respect for Marraige act (RFMA) will repeal DOMA if/when it is passed — don’t look for that to happen any time soon. More likely, the DOMA statute will be repealed. Three Federal District court rulings have already said that DOMA is unconstitutional. One Circuit Court has heard the case. So DOMA could be gone in one or two more years.

      In the mean time, a same-sex couple _could_ file taxes as “married”, and just be prepared to go to court to defend the audit…

      Apr 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      Don’t blame the IRS please. Blame congress. If you want some cold comfort it’s actually worse for married straight people who choose to keep their finances separate.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rex
      Rex

      Agreed Chris. We can also blame that “fierce advocate” Obama since no other President has defended DOMA. Obama has never been supportive of same gender marriage at all.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 11:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Drew
      Drew

      Not all same gendered people who are in a relationship together or legally married are gay, and many of them are bisexual and this doesn’t make it a gay/lesbian marriage or gay/lesbian relationship.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 11:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      Re “It feels really strange to be forced to lie.” Until the mess is fixed (e.g., by repealing DOMA), the IRS should be ordered to change its form so that a “married” checkbox gets replaced with “married and not same-sex marriage.” That would make it possible for married gay couples to fill out the return without feeling like they are lying.

      My guess – if the IRS did that, or if Obama merely asked the IRS to do that, there would be howls of outrage from various “family” groups. While they’d spin it differently, the reason is that the wording would make the discrimination obvious.

      Apr 17, 2012 at 11:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Auntie Mame
      Auntie Mame

      Why are there gay parents? Kids are a pain. I’m joking. I love kids. But, I can’t eat a whole one.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 1:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Riker
      Riker

      @B: The IRS is powerless to do that. Because of DOMA, they are literally required to ct like they have no idea that the concept of same-sex marriage exists. Even putting its name on the form would be against DOMA section 3.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GinaSF
      GinaSF

      I agree Drew. A couple where both people are Trans even if they’re FTM and MTF isn’t hetero or straight, and the same goes if they’re FTM and a bisexual man, an MTF and MTF, a FTM and FTM, or an MTF and a bisexual woman they’re not a gay or lesbian couple.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 1:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • B
      B

      No. 8 · Riker wrote, “@B: The IRS is powerless to do that. Because of DOMA, they are literally required to ct like they have no idea that the concept of same-sex marriage exists. Even putting its name on the form would be against DOMA section 3.”

      Probably not true – Section 3 of DOMA states, “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” Using the phrase “married and not a same-sex marriage” is merely a concise way of describing the requirements of Section 3 to the public, to disambiguate the use of “marriage” under federal versus (some) state law. Note that Section 3 starts with “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States,”. It does not start with “In communication with the public …”

      If you like, however, you could use “married and marriage between opposite-sex partners”
      It’s the same idea, just a bit longer.

      Apr 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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