RICHMOND, VA, December 5, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Homosexual couples who “marry” outside of Virginia will still be treated as singles by state tax officials, state officials say. The decision was made after state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s office pointed out that the ruling did not apply to individual states.
As a result, homosexual couples living in Virginia who choose to ‘marry’ out-of-state will face inconvenience and a higher bill come tax time.
The Virginia Department of Taxation issued a bulletin last month explaining the differences between federal and state tax laws and providing “married” homosexual couples with instructions on how to file their state taxes.
The bulletin explains that while the state had historically defaulted to the federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) definition of marriage for tax calculation purposes, it can no longer do so because Virginia’s constitution was amended in 2007 to specifically block the state government from offering any of the “rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage” to any partnership that does not consist of one man and one woman.
As a result, while “married” same-sex couples may file as married with the federal IRS, they will not be able to do so in Virginia. That means that in order to fill out state tax forms, which ask for federal adjusted gross income, such couples may have to prepare at least three separate federal returns: the “married” form – filed either separately or jointly - to be sent to the IRS, and two dummy returns calculated as single people, from which to draw the correct numbers for the state forms.
The law also prevents both members of a same-sex couple from claiming the same child as a dependent, deducting childcare expenses, or deducting alimony or child support payments made to a former same-sex ‘spouse.’
Additionally, any pretax benefits received as a result of the same-sex “marriage,” such as employer contributions to a partner’s health plan, may also be taxed as income, and businesses that provide benefits to same-sex “spouses” will not be able to claim deductions on those benefits.
The Virginia chapter of the ACLU slammed Virginia’s tax policies in a statement, accusing state officials of “ongoing hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Virginians, including legally married same-sex couples.”
And the business sector has complained about the human resources “nightmare” presented by having federal and state withholdings and benefits deductions calculated in disparate ways.
But state officials say their hands are tied.
“It’s not a tax issue. It’s a constitutional matter,” Taxation Department spokesman Joel Davison toldThe Washington Post. “An administrator can’t go against his or her state constitution.”
Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation of Virginia, praised state officials for upholding the law, unlike the state of Missouri, where Democratic Governor Jay Nixon recently issued an executive order forcing tax officials to recognize same-sex “marriages” for the sake of simplicity, even though the state constitution bans such unions.
“We appreciate the department and administration putting the rule of law ahead of simplicity,” Cobb said in a written statement.
But gay activists say they plan to ask Virginia’s incoming Democratic Governor-elect, Terry McAuliffe to follow Nixon’s lead and sign an executive order forcing the state to treat same-sex ‘marriages’ as valid for tax purposes.
McAuliffe has said he supports a repeal of the state’s marriage protection amendment and has promised to issue executive orders banning “discrimination” based on sexual orientation and “gender identity” on his first day in office.
But even if McAuliffe wanted to change the tax laws, it’s far from certain that he could actually do it, as Virginia’s constitutional ban on same-sex “marriage” is much more strongly worded than Missouri’s.
“I think we’ll certainly have conversations with Governor McAuliffe’s office to change this for gay couples,” Brian Moulton of the homosexual Human Rights Campaign told the Post. “But it is very difficult to get around these constitutional amendments.”