Alex Blaze

Tax day open thread

Filed By Alex Blaze | April 15, 2009 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: gay marriage, Glenn Beck, marriage, post office, Tax Day, taxes

Two protests going on today for tax day.

First, the famous tea baggers, told by their corporate sponsors to protest a tax increase on the wealthy (as well as jobs creation), will be having tea parties all over the country. We cannot be free as long as there is taxation with representation! They've garnered quite a bit of attention for their work and the mainstream political media does love the idea of people rising up against Keynesian economics to support wealthy people who might be asked to shoulder a bit more of the burden to get us out of this crisis. Video telling you to go there after the jump.

Second, and more interestingly but with, sadly, less attention, HRC, Join the Impact, and Marriage Equality USA are having demonstrations all over the country at post offices to protest unfair tax structures that benefit married couples over unmarried couples and same-sex couples, married or otherwise.

If you're participating in these protests, or just want to share a tax-day story, the floor is yours.

Here's Thomas Paine revived as a right-wing ideologue. I just can't get over how weird this video is.

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Don Sherfick Don Sherfick | April 15, 2009 11:16 AM

Although since April 15th is the deadline for the tax that most often comes to mind, I'll throw a small word in concerning another kind of tax that unfairly discriminates between LGBT couples and their married heterosexual counterparts: inheritance/estate taxes.

In my state of Indiana, for example, if a husband dies, even though they may have only been hitched before a Justice of the Peace in Las Vegas three hours before, his wife pays absolutely nothing on property that becomes hers upon his demise. On the other hand, if the same-sex (or for that matter, an unmarried heterosexual) partner of decades, passes, perhaps leaving minor children to still care for and a mortgage to pay, the survivor gets a measly $ 100 exemption and then is liable for from 10% to 20% of the value. And in many cases a survivor may end up paying tax on the one-half they've considered to be already theirs. Since a shared house is often the major asset a couple has, I've known of many a situation where the survivor ends up having to sell hearth and home because of the inheritance tax bite.

I don't know how many other states have similar situations, but suspect Indiana is not unique. There is also a feature in the federal estate tax called the "marital deduction" which because of DOMA isn't available to anyone but opposite sex married couples.

And Alex, knowing your predisposition to pooh-pooh some marriage-related things as only the concerns of the wealthier members of our community, the inheritance tax disparity I've described above has easily fallen upon some pretty modest and even sub-modest income GLBT families that I've familiar with.

Unfortunately things like "Marriage Protection Amendments" in many states now hamstring both judges and legislators from doing anything about this kind of inequality.

A. J. Lopp | April 15, 2009 9:56 PM

It's great, Don, that you take today to point this out. Maybe a "Rally for Fair Estate Taxation" next time we need to make a showing in the statehouse rotunda would make a point with conservative tax-haters more than an "Equal Right to Marry" Rally ever would (even though there is nothing wrong with an ERTM rally, either).

And I have heard from lawyers that specialize in this area of law that the best a same-sex couple can do in Indiana is to place the shared house, and/or other major assets to pass on from one to the other, in a trust of some sort --- but this takes careful planning, and making sure that it is legally ironclad will involve some fairly expensive legal work. Even then, relatives who do not respect the relationship may attempt to attack.

The federal income tax rules are only unfair to unmarried couples or married same-sex couples where one person earns all or most of the income and the other is financially dependent. Equal earning couples are better off unmarried. Do we really want the law to favor the traditional, gendered family for whom the current tax code was written, even if similarly configured same-sex couples get that benefit as well? Not me. See