Same-Sex Couples Excluded from Certain Tax Benefits
When Suze Orman speaks, millions listen and absorb her common sense and financial wisdom, including advice and comments about taxes. The CNBC Host and New York Times bestselling author was part of a Monday phone press conference sponsored by the national group, Respect for Marriage Coalition. Orman criticized the American Tax System for promoting financial discrimination against married gay and lesbian couples. She’s been with her partner Kathy Travis for 13 years. “It is absolutely ridiculous that upon my death KT will have to pay an estate tax on the majority of my estate,” says Orman. “And I’m going to have to pay an estate tax on her estate. If we were married we would not owe a penny. That law alone will cost many gay and lesbian couples millions of dollars.” In 2010, Orman and Travis married in South Africa where the financial advisor says they have full marital privileges. They have no children.
Winston-Salem residents Mark Maxwell and Tim Young-Maxwell also joined Orman on the phone conference. Last January, they married in Washington, D.C. According to Mark Maxwell, because their union is not legally recognized in North Carolina, they pay out money that should be used for their four sons. “When Tim puts me on his health insurance, that money comes out of his check after tax,” says Maxwell. “So that means we’re paying another $3,000 per year going out of our house and we’re thinking, how will we make this up?” Other financial experts pointed out more inequalities including that same-sex spouses do not have access to each other’s social security benefits. And even for couples living in states that recognize their union, they still have the added expense of filing separate federal tax returns. Meanwhile, Orman urges North Carolina’s same-sex couples to consider making one drastic move to gain some state tax advantages. “You have to plan things very carefully when it comes to insurance, retirement plans and other things,” says Orman. “And I think it’s a responsibility of every gay couple to leave the residency of the state not recognizing you and go to a state where you are recognized and considered a vital member of society.” Nine states plus the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.