Legislation

Elizabeth Warren proposes law that would pay same-sex couples back a huge amount of money

Let’s look at the details another way. The Refund Equality Act would give married same-sex couples the chance to get that money back by applying for tax refunds from the IRS. These tax breaks are no small amount, either. For example, while single filers have a standard deduction of $12,200, married couples who file jointly can go up to $24,400, as of 2019. There are also wider income brackets for married couples who file jointly.

“The federal government forced legally married same-sex couples in Massachusetts to file as individuals and pay more in taxes for almost a decade,” Elizabeth Warren said in a statement on Thursday. “We need to call out that discrimination and to make it right — Congress should pass the Refund Equality Act immediately.”

Couples who were in same-sex marriages before the repeal of DOMA could get up to $57 million in tax refunds, as concluded in a report released by the Joint Committee on Taxation last Tuesday. Mind you, not every couple would get money back, as it truly depends on how much the people in question earn. In fact, there are instances where the couple would owe. Which is, obviously, also the case for opposite-sex couples.

As some background, this isn’t the first time Warren has advocated on behalf of this issue. She also sponsored the Refund Equality Act in 2017. In that case, the legislation called for the IRS to amend codes for same-sex couples who were married before DOMA’s repeal. 

Semi-related, Rep. Judy Chu, a Democrat from California, proposed a comparable law in the House Committee on Ways and Means in early June. 


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