As the House Revenue & Taxation Committee opened its hearing this morning on the state Tax Commission’s temporary rule on same-sex married couples’ tax filings, Chairman Gary Collins noted, “This is a hearing on a pending rule, it is not a hearing on same-sex marriage. … It is a clarification on a rule that the state of Idaho needs for tax purposes.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a ban on federal benefits for same-sex couples was unconstitutional, that cleared the way for same-sex couples married in states where such marriages are legal to file joint federal income tax returns. But Idaho has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage; the state Tax Commission then enacted temporary rules requiring such couples in Idaho to re-file separately for their state income tax returns.
Several people are testifying to the committee that Idaho’s rule means they’ll have to pay more in taxes as same-sex married couples than would opposite-sex married couples. Gary Peters said Idaho’s rule means the IRA donation of $6,000 a year that he makes for his spouse will be taxed twice by Idaho. Tim Walsh, who’s been with his partner for 10 years, told the committee, “The question of whether we file as married filing jointly, or married filing single, should be left to us, not to the government. We should not be forced by the government to file as single. … If you truly believe in a less intrusive government, you would agree with that.”