Elizabeth Warren wants to give same-sex couples $57 million tax refunds
Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, recently re-introduced the Refund Equality Act in the Senate. The bill would allow same-sex couples who were legally married before the federal government recognized their marriages to file joint amended tax refunds. If passed, it could allow couples to receive $57 million in tax refunds, according to a report released by the Joint Committee on Taxation. Warren originally introduced the act in 2017.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in certain states since 2004 when it became legal in Massachusetts, but the federal government didn’t recognize these marriages until the 2013 U.S. v. Windsor ruling. For years, married same-sex couples filed their taxes as if they were single—and typically this meant they paid more.
“The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade,” Warren said in a statement. “We need to call out that discrimination and to make it right—Congress should pass the Refund Equality Act immediately.”
It wasn’t until marriage equality became law that gay & lesbian couples could jointly file tax returns—so they paid more in taxes. Our government owes them more than $50M for the years our discriminatory tax code left them out. We must right these wrongs. https://t.co/OZQcfVilSs
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 23, 2019
The Refund Equality Act would allow same-sex couples to file tax return amendments farther back than the typically allowed three years. It would give these couples the opportunity to receive refunds for years where they were married legally but not recognized by the federal government. The bill has been co-sponsored by 42 senators.
On June 14, Representatives Judy Chu and Andy Levin introduced a companion bill in the House of Representatives, the PRIDE Act of 2019. It would change the federal tax code to allow same-sex couples to amend their tax returns beyond the last three years, but would only apply to couples married before U.S. v. Windsor in 2013. “This bill not only corrects an injustice against same-sex couples, it also puts money directly back into the pockets of families who have earned it,” Chu said in a statement. The PRIDE Act was passed unanimously by voice vote in the House Ways and Means Committee.
Alaina Leary Lavoie
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