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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
April 6, 2007

Bill would end taxation
of domestic partner benefits

Washington, D.C.--A bill that would include domestic partner benefits in the tax exemption for spousal health plans was introduced in Congress on March 29.

Sponsored by Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, the measure would expand the Internal Revenue Code, which exempts from a person’s income the amount employers pay to cover their spouses and dependents under employee insurance plans.

An increasing number of companies, states and municipalities include gay and lesbian domestic partners in these plans. But the employee must pay tax on the benefits as if they were ordinary income. People taking the benefits pay more income tax than those who don’t.

“Human rights are unattainable without equal rights,” said McDermott. “I want dignity, respect and the law to extend to health care benefits for gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual Americans in the workplace, and this bill is my commitment put into action.”

Sens. Gordon Smith of Utah and Chuck Schumer of New York are expected to introduce the Senate version of the legislation soon.

“This legislation to provide equitable tax treatment to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation, is as fair and common-sense as it gets,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Over half of Fortune 500 companies now offer domestic partner health benefits to their employees and there is no logical reason why these benefits should be taxed any differently. This bill is a win-win proposal for both workers and businesses.”

Members of the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity issued statements in favor of the legislation, including representatives of Dow Chemical Company and Chubb and Son.

 

 

 

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