Press Room

April 15, 2013

Category: Federal Advocacy, Health & Aging

HRC Applauds Introduction of Legislation to Remove Unfair Taxation of Health Benefits

Bill introduced on Tax Day would remove discriminatory financial burdens on LGBT families

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today lauded Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Susan Collins (R-ME) for introducing the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act in the United States Senate. The bill, which was also introduced in the 112th Congress, would end the unfair taxation of employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners, as well as the penalty imposed on fair-minded employers who provide equal benefits to their LGBT employees.  On average an LGBT employee will pay $1,069 a year in federal taxes for employer provided spousal health care, according to the Williams Institute at UCLA.

The Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act addresses a fundamental flaw in the U.S. tax code.  Currently, employees are taxed on the fair market value of employer-provided health coverage for same-sex domestic partners or spouses.  The same employer-provided health coverage for opposite-sex spouses is excluded from the employee's gross income and no taxes are paid.  While a growing number of fair-minded companies “gross up,” or pay LGBT employees with dependent partners more to offset the tax burden, most do not.  Employees who elect to cover domestic partner or same-sex spouse pay more income and payroll tax and employers who offer benefits to domestic partners face the administrative burden of calculating taxes separately, and they also pay additional payroll taxes.

"Health insurance is critical to the stability of any family and gay and lesbian couples shouldn’t be unfairly taxed," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "In removing a discriminatory tax burden, this legislation will make families stronger and will end the penalty imposed on fair-minded employers who provide equal benefits to their LGBT employees."

The number of major companies providing family benefits for domestic partners continues to rise. Currently, sixty-two percent of Fortune 500 companies offer these benefits as a matter of fundamental fairness. That is why a coalition of top employers like Dow, Corning, Chubb, IBM, Microsoft, Nike, and dozens more support ending the taxation of health benefits, and endorse the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act.

“In today’s economy it is more important than ever that we are able to attract the best and brightest.  Domestic partner benefits play a large role in our ability to recruit and retain top talent.  This legislation would end the discriminatory tax burden our employees and their families face when we offer these important benefits to them,“ said Howard Ungerleider, Executive Vice President, Advanced Materials, for the Dow Chemical Company and executive sponsor of Dow’s GLAD (Gays, Lesbians and Allies at Dow) Diversity Network.”

“We believe a diverse and inclusive workforce is one of our greatest strengths and a key measure of the wealth of our company,” said Karen Elinski, Senior Vice President and Head of Government Relations at TIAA-CREF. “Central to that commitment is providing health care benefits that include our employees' diverse families. We are proud to support the Tax Parity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act and salute Senator Chuck Schumer, our home state senator, and Sen. Susan Collins for their leadership."

To see a full listing of businesses who have publicly stated their support for this legislation, go to: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/business-coalition-for-benefits-tax-equity-members

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


 

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