Shaheen, Hassan Join Colleagues to Introduce Refund Equality Act to Provide Equal Tax Treatment for Married Same-Sex Couples
**Bill Would Permit Same-Sex Couples Previously Barred from Filing Taxes Jointly to Submit Amended Returns Dating Back to Year of Marriage**
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 71 of their congressional colleagues today to introduce the Refund Equality Act of 2017. This legislation would ensure that legally-married same-sex couples - who until the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Windsor decision were barred from filing federal taxes jointly - are permitted to file amended tax returns back to the date of their marriage. Same-sex marriage has been legal in New Hampshire since January 1, 2010.
“For three years, legally married same-sex couples in the Granite State had to file their federal taxes as single persons because their marriage was not recognized by the federal government,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill would make an important correction to allow same-sex couples to claim the tax refunds they earned. All legally married couples should be treated equally under the law.”
“LGBTQ Americans are full and equal members of our society, and should be treated as such,” said Senator Hassan. “I am extremely proud that New Hampshire was one of the first states in the nation to pass marriage equality. The Marriage Equality Refund Bill allows LGBTQ couples in New Hampshire to claim the federal tax refunds that they were denied despite being legally married in our state prior to the Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality ruling in 2013. I hope that we can come together to pass this legislation without delay.”
Currently, married couples who previously filed taxes separately are permitted to file amended joint returns dating back up to three years, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) lacks the authority to override this limitation. As a result, same-sex couples who were married in jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriage prior to Windsor are unable to claim refunds for years they were legally married. The Refund Equality Act would permit these couples to amend their tax returns for these years, allowing them to file jointly and to secure an estimated total of $67 million in refunds to which they are entitled.
The legislation is cosponsored by 32 senators. Additionally, 39 members of the House of Representatives cosponsored similar legislation.
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