Same-sex Spouses Pay $6,000 More a Year in Taxes than Straight Couples
It’s a common enough phrase at any gay pride parade or hypothetical dinner party involving the Bachmanns, my partner and I. But the thing is, it’s far from the truth.
LGBT couples don’t just pay their fair share of taxes. Instead, they pay about $6,000 more than their straight counterparts on average.
While marriage provides tax benefits for many heterosexual couples, same-sex families don’t enjoy the same perks because they are not allowed to file their federal returns jointly.
The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed — for the first time — that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.
But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.
This means they can’t combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It’s also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.
Published statistical analyses like this are just another sign of the times that federal marriage equality is on its way. Our most reputable news organizations in America are taking an interest in the rampant silent inequalities LGBT Americans face, which in turn sways public opinion and political representatives.
But don’t go spending your benjamins on your Benjamin just yet. You still owe Uncle Sam an extra 6K for now.