WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced Thursday that when it comes to taxes, it will recognize same-sex couples’ marriages even if they live in a state that does not.
The decision, which was prompted by the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, marks the latest political progress for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Prior to this spring, the Internal Revenue Service did not recognize same-sex married couples pursuant to section 3 of DOMA. Once DOMA was overturned in June, the question became: What about same-sex married couples who moved to a state that didn’t recognize their marriage (a couple married in Massachusetts who moved to Arkansas, for example)?
Thursday’s ruling by Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew provides a uniform policy for the IRS; the state of celebration — where the wedding took place — now trumps the state of residency when it comes to federal tax status for same-sex married couples.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
The new policy, which was first shared by Lew in a conference call that included LGBT advocates, holds a bit of political significance. It was the burden of federal tax law on same-sex couples, after all, that prompted the legal challenge to DOMA in the first place.
Under the new Treasury policy, all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, employee benefits, IRA contributions, earned income, child tax credits, and income, gift and estate taxes, will apply to same sex couples regardless of where they live. On the flip side, gay couples also will now be subjected to the so-called marriage penalty, in which some (usually upper-middle class) joint filers incur a higher tax burden than they would if they filed as single people.
The policy only applies to married couples, and not those in domestic partnerships or same-sex unions.
WASHINGTON, DC – President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the “misconduct” detailed in a report about the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of requests from conservative groups is “inexcusable.”
“Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I am angry about it,” he said.
In the wake of the uproar, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew requested — and has accepted — the resignation of the acting commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, according to Obama.
The president also said his administration will work to enact “new safeguards to make sure that this kind of behavior cannot happen again.”
(CNN) — The Internal Revenue Service has identified two “rogue” employees in the agency’s Cincinnati office as being principally responsible for “overly aggressive” handling of requests by conservative groups for tax-exempt status, a congressional source told CNN.
In a meeting on Capitol Hill, acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller described the employees as being “off the reservation,” according to the source. It was not clear precisely what the alleged behavior involved.
Miller said the staffers have already been disciplined, according to another source familiar with Miller’s discussions with congressional investigators. The second source said Miller emphasized that the problem with IRS handling of tax-exempt status for tea party groups was not limited to these two employees.
Miller met with Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana on Tuesday to discuss an appearance before Congress.
Asked in a Senate hallway about his meeting with Miller, Baucus told CNN, “I did not learn as much from the meeting as I would have liked.”
“I told him that it was in his best interest to be totally cooperative — that it’s often the coverup that causes more problems than the original malfeasance,” the senator said. “And just to be totally straight with me and everybody, and he said he would.”
President Barack Obama was scheduled to deliver a statement Wednesday from the East Room of the White House after a meeting with senior Treasury Department officials. During the meeting, Obama will be “making sure people are held accountable for their conduct, for their activities,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said.
A Democratic source told CNN’s Dana Bash that Obama will discuss “IRS changes” when he makes his statement.
I have now had the opportunity to review the Treasury Department watchdog’s report on its investigation of IRS personnel who improperly targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. And the report’s findings are intolerable and inexcusable. The federal government must conduct itself in a way that’s worthy of the public’s trust, and that’s especially true for the IRS. The IRS must apply the law in a fair and impartial way, and its employees must act with utmost integrity. This report shows that some of its employees failed that test.
I’ve directed Secretary Lew to hold those responsible for these failures accountable, and to make sure that each of the Inspector General’s recommendations are implemented quickly, so that such conduct never happens again. But regardless of how this conduct was allowed to take place, the bottom line is, it was wrong. Public service is a solemn privilege. I expect everyone who serves in the federal government to hold themselves to the highest ethical and moral standards. So do the American people. And as President, I intend to make sure our public servants live up to those standards every day.
I really like this guy.
p.s. Britain, please abandon David Cameron.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate on Wednesday confirmed Jack Lew as President Barack Obama's new treasury secretary, putting the former White House chief of staff in the middle of abitter political fight over the government’s budget.
Senators backed Lew in a 71-26 vote, with the nominee capturing all of the chamber’s 53 Democrats. Some Republicans had expressed misgivings about Lew’s perks from previous employers Citigroup and New York University.
h/t: Yahoo! News
President Obama will nominate Jack Lew, his chief of staff, to replace Timothy Geithner as the next U.S. Treasury Secretary, according to multiple media reports. Geithner has said he plans to step down before the government reaches the federal debt ceiling, due sometime in the next few months.