Sen. Warren Introduces $57 Million Retroactive Gay Marriage Tax Refund Bill

Mark Jennings | June 24, 2019 | 12:12pm EDT
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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Screenshot)

On Thursday, Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill (S. 1940) that would allow same-sex couples to receive tax refunds from the IRS.

“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 tweeted on Saturday. “We need to call out that discrimination and to make it right — Congress should pass the Refund Equality Act immediately.”

In 2013, the Supreme Court repealed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the case US v Windsor. This allowed same-sex couples to file taxes jointly. Prior to this decision, same-sex couples could not jointly file taxes and were ineligible for the tax benefits available to legally married couples.

Warren’s bill would allow same-sex couples to receive federal income tax refunds they were denied before DOMA was overturned.

The Joint Committee on Taxation released a report on Tuesday which estimated that taxpayers in same-sex relationships prior to the repeal of DOMA would be eligible for about $57 million dollars’ worth of tax refunds if the measure becomes law.

A similar bill (H.R. 3299) has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Judy Chu (D-Calif.).

“After all, there are Democratic LGBT members and there are Republican LGBT couples, so they exist everywhere. It is only right that we change this tax code to make it fairer for all,” Chu told NBC News, “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.”


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