The IRS is trying to force same-sex marriage "on an unwilling public" with its ruling that legally married gay couples may now file joint income tax returns, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said Friday.
"The Treasury Department is grossly overstepping its authority," said Brown in a statement posted on the NOM website
shortly after the IRS' announcement.
"This is a nation of laws. Only Congress has the authority to change the law," he said in the statement.
The decision by the Treasury Department implements the Supreme Court's decision in June to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had forbidden the Internal Revenue Service from allowing married homosexual couples to file jointly.
The government's decision is considered a victory by same-sex couples who were married in one of the 13 states or the District of Columbia that recognize such relationships, but now live in one of the 37 states that do not recognize them.
Brown and the NOM, however, do not consider the ruling a victory at all. NOM, in its statement, said the IRS ruling "continues a pattern of lawlessness across the nation where administrators and clerks have taken it upon themselves to interpret and rewrite laws as they pertain to marriage."
Further, NOM said that only federal and state lawmakers have the power to enact or rewrite law.
"The Obama administration is intent on forcing same-sex 'marriage' on an unwilling public," Brown said. "Congress alone has the responsibility of determining federal tax law."
Same-sex marriage opponent Bryan Fischer, the director of the issues analysis for the American Family Association, told The Washington Post
that the ruling puts "enormous federal pressure now on states to conform to the IRS."
Further, he said that the Supreme Court's decision earlier this summer to strike down parts of the Defense of Marriage Act "placed an [improvised explosive device] under every state marriage amendment in the land."
"I predict we will very quickly see legal action in the 37 states that do not give legal recognition to same-sex marriage to force them to conform to federal policy on their tax forms, and you will get activist federal judges that will comply," said Fischer.
The IRS ruling also creates some complications for same-sex couples who live in the 37 states that don't recognize gay marriage, financial experts said Friday.
Where same-sex couples had filed federal and state tax returns as individuals before, they now have the option to file jointly, but may still be required to file state returns as individuals.
"There's going to be a cumbersome work-around," Nanette Lee Miller of Marcum LLP, a public accounting firm, told The New York Times
Marvin Kirsner, a tax lawyer for Greenberg Traurig, told the Times that states may also respond to the federal ruling with changes of their own, creating an even bigger headache when tax time rolls around.
"Most state income tax regimes begin with federal taxable income as the starting point," Kirsner. "These state taxing authorities will have to figure out how to deal with a same-sex married couple who file a joint income tax return for federal tax purposes. We will need to see guidance from each nonrecognition state to see how this will be handled."
The ruling may also have some implications for Obamacare because it means the income of legally married couples will be considered when determining eligibility for the law's Medicaid expansion and subsidies, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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Thursday’s announcement that the federal government will give the same tax treatment to legally married same-sex couples as they do to straight couples may have ripple effects for the 2010 healthcare law.
Brian Haile, senior vice president for health policy for Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, told the Post-Dispatch that, for example, same-sex couples who each have an income of $40,000 may be eligible for the health law’s tax credits individually, but not if they marry and combine their incomes.
"If they marry, then they would lose eligibility because their income would be over the threshold for a household of two," said Haile.
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