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June 20, 2019

Rep. Pressley Co-Sponsors Refund Equality Act to Provide Equal Tax Treatment for Married Same-Sex Couples

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) joined Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to cosponsor the Refund Equality Act – legislation that ensures that legally-married same-sex couples — who until the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 U.S. v. Windsor decision were barred from filing federal taxes jointly — are permitted to file amended tax returns back to the date of their marriage.

Currently, married couples who previously filed taxes separately are permitted to file amended joint returns dating only back to three years, but the IRS lacks the authority to override this limitation. As a result, same-sex couples who were married in jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriage prior to Windsor are unable to claim refunds for all years they were legally married. The Refund Equality Act would permit these couples to amend their tax returns for these years, allowing them to file jointly and to secure an estimated total of $57 million in refunds to which they are entitled.

“Massachusetts led the nation as the first state to recognize the same-sex marriages, but it took the federal government almost a decade to catch up,” said Congresswoman Pressley. “For a decade, legally married Bay Staters were forced to pay a premium just because of who they are and who they love.  The Refund Equality Act affirms that all married couples are entitled to the same tax break, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Congresswoman Judy Chu (D-Calif.) introduced the companion legislation last week in the House of Representatives, alongside Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), John Larson (D-Conn.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Terri Sewell (D-Ala.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Don Beyer (D-Va.), Tom Suozzi (D-N.Y.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.) as original cosponsors. The House Ways & Means Committee marked up the legislation, which is part of the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality (PRIDE) Act of 2019, on Thursday, June 20.

The legislation is cosponsored by 39 senators, including Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Robert Casey (D-Pa.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).

Congresswoman Pressley is a proud champion and ally of LGBTQ Americans. Earlier this month, she held Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson accountable for his department’s proposal to rollback housing protections for transgender and nonbinary Americans. Additionally, she spoke on the House floor in support of the Equality Act – a historic nondiscrimination bill protecting LGBTQ Americans.