IRS Ruling a Victory for Married Same-Sex Couples Across the Country!

Thanks to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service for doing the right thing on August 29. Those of us who live in states, like Pennsylvania, that have their own version of the Defense of Marriage Act (or a constitutional ban in other states on same-sex marriage) will now, at last, have the full federal economic benefits and protections of marriage as long as you were married somewhere that recognizes your marriage. Meanwhile cases challenging state DOMA’s and constitutional bans in federal court on gay marriage need to go forward. The PA ACLU is leading such a case here in Pennsylvania; this groundswell of support for equality WILL succeed. And like in the Loving v. Virginia case, we will eventually have Freedom to Marry for all consenting adults regardless of sexual orientation.

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Tara R. Pfeifer, WLP Staff Attorney

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department announced yesterday that the federal government will recognize the marriages of legally married same-sex couples for all federal tax purposes, regardless of where those couples reside.

This landmark ruling comes on the heels of the United States Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor in which the Court overturned a key provision (Section 3) of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Section 3 defined the terms “marriage” and “spouse” for purposes of federal law as pertaining only to legal unions between one man and one woman.  Yesterday’s announcement clarifies that when it comes to evaluating the federal tax status of same-sex married couples, it is the “place of celebration” – where the wedding took place – that controls, not the state where the couple resides.  Thus, same-sex couples that marry in one of the states where same-sex…

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Corporations’ Excessive Tax Breaks

This is a great report on how corporations avoid paying their fair share of taxes!

If we can also overturn Citizen’s United and gerrymandering, then I believe part of the issues raised here could be dealt with. If corporations are no longer treated as “people,” they would no longer be able outspend real live people in electing and talking to our representatives.  We’ll still have to deal with their paid lobbyists, but at least we can reduce their influence to some extent on who is elected in our own back yards.

Nel's New Day

While you faithfully paid your taxes by yesterday, 26 major American corporations that made $205 billion in pretax profits paid nothing in federal corporate income tax between 2008 and 2011. In 2011 corporations paid a 12.1 percent effective tax rate, the lowest in four decades. Corporations want to have the same rights as “persons,” but real persons can’t have the tax advantages of corporations.

Corporations get tax breaks when they…

Break the law: BP’s toxic mess in the Gulf of Mexico or Wells Fargo’s abusive lending practices that cost tens of thousands American families their homes were fully deductible.

Fall on hard times: When corporations lose money, they can use these losses not only to fully offset taxes for that year but also carry those losses into the future for up to seven years.

Face no income threshold: After Superstorm Sandy devastated millions of American families, they picked up the…

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Taxes as a “Blessing of Liberty”

April 15 is Tax Day

April 15 is Tax Day

Today is the day that individual taxes are due in the United States.  Many of us spend hours, if not days, preparing our paperwork to report our income and pay taxes/get a refund from our federal, state, and local governments.  April 15 is the day that all of these payments are due.

Lloyd E. Sheaffer a community columnist for Pennlive/The Patriot-News wrote an op-ed on Sunday, April 14 entitled “Taxes are the price we pay to protect our ‘blessings of liberty’: As I See It.”

Mr. Sheaffer makes an excellent argument as to why we have taxes and even if we don’t like doing the paperwork, we as a society need to pay for our “blessings of liberty” through our taxes.  As he states:

Our tax bill is the tab we pay to live in a democracy that allows all to live as free people, even free to criticize the very system that protects and supports its citizenry.

This support  includes funding for a wide variety of programs and institutions including maintaining our infrastructure (like roads and rail), ensuring our safety (like firefighters and police), improving and maintaining our health (like clean water and air and public health), ensuring justice (like funding courts and civil rights oversight), and creating “a greater chance for material and emotional prosperity if public education is fully funded and appropriately conducted.”

I fully agree with Mr. Schaeffer’s sentiments and suggest that you take a moment and read the full opinion piece.

Here are his closing comments.  I hope you take them to heart:

Nonetheless, if our citizenry can set aside the acrimony felt toward much of our constituted and ordained government and encourage elected officials at all levels to bring genuine reform to our maimed tax system, the day may come when citizens see paying taxes, not as an onerous legal obligation, but as a moral obligation that promotes a “more perfect Union” and truly “secures the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

Until that time comes, sooner rather than later for the sake of us all, I hope you won’t mind paying your duty, even though you don’t like doing so.

“Happy” Tax Day.