Friday, April 13, 2007

Income tax season means it's Gay Tax time in America

By Diane Silver

As just about every lesbian and gay family knows, April 15 (or April 17 as it is this year) is not only income tax day, but also Gay Tax Day.*

Actually, that's not true. Every day is Gay Tax Day because our families almost always take a financial hit, and those problems aren't limited to April 15. But, who am I to quibble about one day vs every day when we're in the middle of tax season?

Just a quick note, though, on the year-round hit. My son personally suffered because same-sex marriage is illegal. When my life partner died of cancer, our family received far less in Social Security survivor benefits than we would have if we could have been married. A recent study calculated that such a loss can range from $100,000 to $250,000.

No wonder I always felt so broke!

But on to the hassles of tax season, reports:
"Each tax season, same-sex couples sit at their dining room tables and are forced to live a legal lie by checking single despite their decades together - arbitrarily dividing up their joint households income, expenses, and dependents," said Molly McKay, a spokesperson for Marriage Equality, a group that represents gay families.

"Even in states with domestic partnerships or civil unions, we still have to check single on our tax forms because our federal government doesn't consider us a family," said McKay.

"Then we write checks to the IRS for higher social security taxes because we can't file jointly, knowing that when we die our families will not even have access to any of the family safety net benefits provided by our tax dollars in the form of social security survivor benefits, estate tax deferral, and other programs that we help fund with our tax dollars but which only heterosexual married couples and t heir children will enjoy."

[added 6:13 p.m.]

*In case anyone didn't get that, I mean "gay tax" as in all us gay folk pay more in taxes for no other reason than the fact that we are gay. Property tax is tax on your property, income tax is tax on your income, and well, gay tax is tax on one's gayness. And so it goes...

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