August 23, 2012
Cain: The New York Marriage Equality Act and the Income Tax
Patricia A. Cain (Santa Clara), The New York Marriage Equality Act and the Income Tax, 5 Alb. Gov't L. Rev. 634 (2012):
So long as DOMA remains effective, same-sex spouses in New York will find themselves applying a more confusing set of rules for state income tax purposes that opposite-sex spouses apply. The Marriage Equality Act was intended to create tax equality at the state level. But, given the interplay of federal and state tax rules, real tax equality is not possible.
The burden of trying to conform to DOMA at the federal level and yet create equality at the state level is particularly apparent in tax law because the state law is so dependent on the federal law. The burden will not just be on the individual taxpayers. It will also be a burden on the state that has to come up with effective rules to get around the full brunt of DOMA at the state level. This phenomenon is likely to make the state of New York and its citizens even more aware of the ways in which DOMA is unfair. As a result, some have suggested that tax law has a special role to play in the path toward true equality for same-sex couples.
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