Equality VA, LGBTQ Families, Ask McAuliffe to Ease Tax Burdens
If you’re in a same-sex marriage from another state, Virginia’s tax laws aren’t easy to navigate. While the federal government is more than happy to accept your joint return, a LGBTQ couple in VA will have to file individually for the state to accept your tax form.
But Equality Virginia and members of the LGBTQ community here in VA are hoping to change that, and they’re asking Gov. McAuliffe and AG Herring for help.
“It is time for [Herring and McAuliffe] to take a stand and reverse the tax department’s discriminatory policy and allow all married couples in Virginia to file their state returns in the same way they filed their federal returns – as married,” said EV’s Executive Director James Parrish at a press conference at the state capital today. “The message is clear: All Virginians – including our many diverse communities, our businesses, and our children – would benefit from a more equitable tax policy.”
But Parrish wasn’t the only voice asking for equality, Kenneth Dance, a CPA and Partner at Wells Coleman & Company, also spoke to the importance of leveling the paying field here in the Commonwealth.
“It is from experience that I can say non-conformity by Virginia regarding recognition of same-sex marriage is causing both individual and business taxpayers unnecessary additional preparation time and cost, as well as additional taxes that they would not otherwise be subject to,” said Dance.
Dance spoke about the complex nature of filing taxes when a same-sex couple has a child, an issue he says his firm sees frequently. “Since only the same-sex partner who claims the child would be eligible to claim any employment-related child and dependent care expenses paid on the child’s behalf,” said Dance. “There were some very difficult conversations had, and choices made.”
Katie D. Fletcher and Attorney based here in Richmond who has spoken often about the tax burdens associated with same-sex couples in VA, echoed the sentiments expressed by Dance.
“The discrepancy between Federal and State Wages on a W-2 likely excludes the taxpayer from electronic filing and invites unnecessary questions.” said Fletcher. “These are all, in my opinion as a tax attorney, unfounded, lawless and discriminatory requirements imposed by the Virginia Department of Taxation.”
Earlier this year, the Virginia Tax department released guidelines for same-sex couples which critics called “the most hateful in the country.” Local advocates, the ACLU, and EV have been working to change the codes ever since.
Top image: Parrish speaking before press during the General Assembly 1/14
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