Monday, April 14, 2008

Tax day

As I'm sure you can guess, I hate tax day. If I expect a refund, I file right away; if I expect to have to pay, I procrastinate to the last possible day. It's my way of depriving the government of as much interest from my money as possible. Even so I hate writing that check.

This year, I had a federal refund, but state liability (a result of living and working in different states). After I finished my state forms, I found an article on CNN that described how tax day has particular ramifications for same-sex couples.

Some Highlights:
Take two couples where one partner has a taxable income of $20,000 and the other makes $40,000. If they can file their federal taxes jointly, the tax bill would be $8,217.50. Filing separately, the combined bill would be $9,032.50 -- more than $800 higher.

Another disparity comes with the federal government's treatment of employer-provided health insurance, which also affects unmarried heterosexual couples. . . [Someone who gets health insurance through the employee benefits of a same-sex partner] is required to count the company's cost of his partner's benefits as additional income for tax purposes.


It's not just the higher bills that can be frustrating for same-sex taxpayers; it's also the process of filing taxes, particularly in states that offer some joint benefits to gay couples

. . .

In New Jersey and the other states where same-sex unions are formally recognized, couples can file their state taxes jointly, but they must file their federal tax returns as individuals.

That means doing income calculations twice. Many tax programs such as Intuit's TurboTax are set up to deal with that extra math.

Even so, there are more problems:

[C]ouples with children must decide which partner gets to claim them as dependents for tax purposes on federal returns and returns in states that don't recognize same-sex unions. Similarly, couples who own homes together have to sort out how much of the mortgage interest payments each partner gets to use as a deduction, said Lara Schwartz, the Human Rights Campaign legal director.

I've said it before: Gay marriage is not my issue, but I strenuously support the recognition of same-sex partners as "spouses" by the Department of the Treasury (and frankly any other executive department, but the Treasury and the SSA are by far the biggies). Give us that, and you can call it an Icky-Sex-Pervert Union for all I care.

(Yes, I know--the GOP isn't going to do that for me any time soon, so no need to remind me. Don't forget that the Democratic controlled Congress hasn't attempted to amend the tax code in our favor either.)


Tim in Italy said...

Gosh, Pink, paying a little extra every year seems like such a small thing when you consider everything the government gives back to us in the way of a decaying infrastructure, a ruinous war, bailouts, state sanctioned discrimination and outdated fiscal policies. Look into your heart, Pink, and fill those coffers just a little more... get a boyfriend!

Anonymous said...

then quit voting republican, you assclown.

Pink Elephant said...

Haven't understood a word I've written, have you?

So I stop voting Republican and naively vote for a party that thinks it's entitled to my vote because of sexuality, but ignores me entirely after election day. Meanwhile, the policies on the majority of other issues on which the Dems actually DO act conflicts with my preferences way more than the Republicans would have.

That sounds rational. Douchebag.

Jonathan said...

I think "assclown" is actually two words, not one. So is "douchebag", come to think of it. I KNOW "flat tax" is two words.

"National Sales Tax" is three words. "IRS" is a four letter word.

"Fag" is a word that's not allowed on Matt's blog.

This comment was supposed to have a point, but I've forgotten what it was...

Play nice, children.!

Anonymous said...

listen, assbag. if democrats could actually get a working majority, some progress on gay issues could be made. you can continue to rationalize to yourself that voting republican is okay because the differences are only in rhetoric, not action, but you're only deluding yourself--yet you're hurting many.

in an admittedly exaggerated analogy, if i were a libertarian black american and party x espoused those (libertarian) beliefs but also supported slavery in their party platform, i would not consider myself a member of party x, nor would i vote for their candidates. no, our condition is nothing like that of slavery, but the principle is very similar. Whatever your beliefs are on other issues, you are actively supporting a party that, in its very platform, thinks you are less than a full citizen.

by the way, did you ever stop to, if the republicans can be this blind and utterly bigoted and wrong on this issue...could they perhaps be wrong on other issues too?

just a thought. douche.

Anonymous said...

You know, Pink, if people like yourself (gay libertarians or other more socially liberal libertarians) stopped voting Republican, you might actually force one of two things to happen: either the Republican party would have to moderate their bigoted rhetoric to get the votes they need or perhaps a third-party candidacy (a truly libertarian party) would surface. I would expect the former to happen before the latter, but neither are inconceivable. You don't need to necessarily vote for a Democrat (you can always write in or sit home in protest), but continuing to vote Republican is enabling the party to have it both ways. There are A LOT of people I know who usually vote Republican but are embarrassed by their party's prejudice and anti-science and anti-intellectual attitudes. As you know, fiscal conservatives aren't necessarily a natural fit with social and cultural conservatives, but in our current D & R system, that's how it works.

But if you continue to vote Republican despite their disturbing views on several issues--some of which I assume do not make you happy--you are just enabling this behavior to continue. Yeah, in the short run this may lead to a Democrat being elected, but in the long run, you may get to see a party in your lifetime that can talk about smaller government without supporting discrimination against gay people. And who knows, if a progressive is elected, maybe in the short run you'll be allowed to get married someday and not have to worry about all those tax issues you just bitched about.

I hope you think about this before you pull the lever for McCain.

bubba gump said...

a good read for those of you on the fence about obama--especially republicans (it's an interview w/ fox news):