Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced a bill in the Senate on Thursday that would allow same-sex couples to amend past tax returns as legally married couples and receive refunds where warranted.
“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.”
Reparations are in the spotlight as the House held a hearing on Wednesday on a bill to establish a commission to study reparations for the descendants of slaves, and the New York Times recently ran a commentary arguing for reparations for gays, including monetary compensation.
A report by the Joint Committee on Taxation released Tuesday estimated that taxpayers who were in same-sex marriages prior to the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 would be eligible for up to $57 million in refunds. Warren introduced a version of the bill in 2017.
Same-sex couples in nearly 10 states were permitted to legally marry on the state level prior to the Supreme Court’s 2013 United States v. Windsor decision, which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and permitted these couples to file joint federal tax returns.
At the time, the IRS said same-sex married couples could file amendments to their tax returns for the previous three years — the same amount of time for opposite-sex couples. However, gay couples in several states, including Warren’s home state of Massachusetts, had been legally married for more than three years before the Windsor decision.
Two years after the United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage the law of the land.
Last week in the House,Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced a companion billed called the Pride Act of 2019.
NBC reported on Chu’s interview with the news outlet when she said she thought some House Republicans might support the bill because they had voted tor the Equality Act that would give gays the same protected status for their sexual orientation as do those who are protected for discrimination according to their gender, race, or religion.
“After all, there are Democratic LGBT members and there are Republican LGBT couples, so they exist everywhere,” Chu said. “It is only right that we change this tax code to make it fairer for all.”
“I have hope that it could move, perhaps in a bigger bill, in which there could be a win-win for all sides on various issues,” Chu said.
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