Palm Beach County is Seeking Tax Relief for Domestic Partners

Several days ago Gay Rights advocates celebrated the U.S. Supreme Court decision to strike down laws that denied federal benefit rights to same-sex couples.

In the state of Florida, however, laws ban same-sex marriage so domestic partners of the counties employees are made to pay taxes on benefits the county offers. This has been the case since 2005.

Commissioner Mary Lou Berger publicly suggested that needs to change and soon. Berger has requested that the counties legal and financial teams’ investigation ways to reimburse domestic partners for the extra tax they are made to pay.

At this time it is still unknown what the change will cost tax payers if the commission votes to pass a tax reimbursement plan. Last year alone Fifty-five domestic partners were registered with the county to receive the benefits.

Just last month Miami Beach passed a new ordinance that offered a type of double reimbursement. The reimbursement pushes the total take-home pay for domestic partners closer to equal. Palm Beach County is now studying Miami Beach’s model.

“One option is that they follow the city of West Palm Beach, which calculates the employee’s income and tax bracket and reimburses the value of the federal tax, said Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.”

Back in June the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act back prohibited the government from denying benefits to same-sex married couples, but it does not change the laws in 35 states that restrict gay marriage.

“There’s not a whole lot that we can do with these types of issues because we don’t recognize gay marriage in the state of Florida,” Berger said.