Gay rights groups all over the Unites States are using today, official tax filing day in the US, to draw attention to the inequality that gay and lesbian couples face when it comes to tax laws. The Defense of Marriage Act denies legally married gay couples the benefits of marriage, which essentially tells LGBT people that their relationships are not valid and that they must file taxes as a “single” person.
Over the last week, the HRC has been revealing the consequences of this, with facts like: “the average retired same-sex couple will be denied more than $8,000 a year in Social Security survivor benefits upon the death of the higher-earning spouse after retirement, same-sex partners and spouses of Armed Forces members are denied military benefits that straight couples receive, LGBT families pay $1,100 more on average in taxes a year for health care coverage, and COBRA health benefits are not available to LGBT Americans if a spouse is laid off, forcing them to pay for coverage elsewhere.”
Marriage Equality USA’s Thom Watson had this to say about same-sex couples being forced to lie on their federal tax returns, “It’s that crazy time of year again when the IRS requires you to affirm under penalty of law that you have been completely truthful on your taxforms, while simultaneously the Defense of Marriage Act actually mandates that some US couples lie on their tax forms. The federal government requires us to check off the ‘Single’ box on our 1040s, and to file as single, even when we’re not. Our government forces us to lie, and charges us more for the privilege.”
For more information, here is the Issue Brief on Federal Taxation released by the HRC.