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Two Same-Sex Couples File Suit Against Kansas Department Of Revenue Alleging Unfair Tax Treatment[ Posted Tuesday Dec 31 2013, 11:43 am by Thomas Witt ]
[ Last Updated Tuesday Dec 31 2013, 11:51 am ]
December 31, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TWO SAME SEX COUPLES SUE KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ALLEGING UNFAIR TAX TREATMENT
Complaint seeks to block implementation of discriminatory policies by state tax agency
Wichita, Kans: Equality Kansas hails yesterday`s filing of Nelson, et al., v. Kansas Department of Revenue, Case No. 13C1465. The complaint, filed in Shawnee County District Court by two legally married same sex couples, seeks to block the state Department of Revenue from implementing a tax scheme that unfairly singles out gay and lesbian couples for discriminatory treatment under the tax code.
``In Kansas all married persons have to use the same income and tax status and information on all tax returns,`` said Thomas Witt, Equality Kansas` executive director. ``There is no separate law for legally married same sex couples, and the state shouldn`t be making separate rules that penalize or stigmatize married gay and lesbian Kansans.``
``We are simply asking the state to follow existing Kansas law,`` said David J. Brown, the Lawrence attorney who filed the action. ``Kansas law requires the state to use federal definitions of marriage for tax purposes, but the Department of Revenue is refusing to comply. My clients are asking the courts to order the Department of Revenue to follow the law.``
The IRS has announced that it will recognize all legally performed marriages for tax purposes and that all legally married same sex couples must file tax returns as ``married,`` even if they live in a state where their marriages aren`t recognized. The Kansas Department of Revenue has announced it will not use the federal definition of marriage and has established regulations requiring same sex couples to file as single persons and say they are not married.
To implement the new policy, the state has published a special worksheet for same sex couples to complete when filing their Kansas taxes instead of simply using their federal tax filing numbers. The state failed to follow any of the statutory requirements for adopting the new regulations.
``By requiring legally married same sex couples to file additional tax forms and say they are not married on those tax forms, Kansas is penalizing and stigmatizing gay and lesbian Kansans,`` said Witt. ``Kansas tax officials have decided that instead of following the law, they want to single out married gay and lesbian couples for unfair and illegal treatment,`` Witt said.
The Department of Revenue has published a special worksheet for same sex couples to complete when filing their Kansas taxes. Instead of simply using their federal tax filing as the basis for Kansas income taxes as all other married couples do, legally married gay and lesbian couples must complete a worksheet which ``decouples`` their household income, and keep it on file for the Department to inspect upon demand.
``It is really simple: the state should follow its own laws and require all married Kansans to file their taxes,state and federal, the same way, as married persons,`` Witt said.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of a gay couple living in Wabaunsee County and a lesbian couple residing in Douglas County.
Formerly the Kansas Equality Coalition, Equality Kansas works to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and to ensure the dignity, safety, and legal equality of all Kansans.