GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Registered Domestic Partnership Roundtable

GSBA recently hosted its third Registered Domestic Partnership (RDP) roundtable with three dozen of our tax, legal and financial members.  Participants continue to identify critical issues resulting from the lack of federal recognition of Washington’s RDP system.  GSBA will be taking a lead in Washington State to educate about unequal treatment and consequences same-sex couples encounter on tax and financial issues because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

With DOMA still in force, the federal government, including the IRS, does not recognize any state or other national marriage, civil union or domestic partnership between two people of the same sex.  However, the IRS does recognize Washington State’s community property laws.  This results in a paradoxical situation where the IRS requires same-sex RDPs in Washington to split their income amongst one another while at the same time completely ignoring any connection between the two separate filers.  Understandably, this creates endless confusion not only with registered domestic partners, but with their CPAs, lawyers, financial professionals and with the IRS staff themselves.  Moreover, while opposite-sex couples are entitled to survivor benefits from their lifetime of Social Security contributions and waiver of estate taxes for communal property, same-sex couples do not have the same entitlement.

The three main issues identified by the group include:

  1. Education of professionals - ensuring that the state groups such as the Washington Bar Association and the Washington Society of Certified Public Accountants understand the issues at hand and that they are instructing their members correctly.
  2. Education of the community - ensuring that members of the LGBT community understand the realities of entering into a Registered Domestic Partnership, especially the consequences of income splitting. 
  3. Advocacy on tax and related issues for the LGBT community, such as the lack of Social Security partner benefits that opposite-sex couples enjoy.

Organizers of the roundtable are working on establishing working groups to address the three issues listed above.  Expect to hear more from this group over the next few months!

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