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.