Refuse to Lie is a new campaign making the gay blog rounds this week, and it asks: How far are you willing to go to take a stand this tax season?
If you are one of the tens of thousands of legally married couples in the United States, you are already well aware that you have no legal right to file a joint tax return with your spouse. DOMA denies this right, as it forces the federal government to not recognize same-sex marriage – regardless of if it was performed legally or not.
So what to do about this? If you are willing to take some risk, you can actually file your return jointly under Section 6664(c) of the Internal Revenue Code: “no penalty shall be imposed [for the underpayment of tax] if … there was a reasonable cause for [the underpayment] and the taxpayer acted in good faith….” Basically, if you believe that you have legal basis to file jointly, and have a sincere belief that DOMA is unconstitutional, you can file jointly.
There is a risk, however, that you will be audited or otherwise punished by the IRS. A current lawsuit, filed by GLAAD in MA, includes couples that want to file jointly, which is bring more fire to this issue. Read more about the risks, and then make an informed decision.
We think this is a valuable piece of civil disobedience, something that needs to happen. The government knows that there will be a huge uproar if they audit or punish these same-sex couples, so they will likely avoid it. But if they don’t, it will rally our community around this very clear and obvious discrimination perpetuated on our community by the federal government.
More from Refuse to Lie:
It is dehumanizing and it is wrong. Across the country, legally married gay couples are taking a stand.
We are refusing to lie about the fact that we are married. The federal government’s refusal to recognize our marriages is blatant discrimination and we will not play along by lying on our tax returns and pretending we are single. The government has chosen to discriminate and we choose to expose their bigotry by refusing to lie.
Taking this principled stand is not without risk and each person doing so needs to carefully consider those risks before deciding if it is a stand you are willing to take. While tax time forces legally married gay couples to decide whether to comply or resist the government’s requirement that we lie, it is not the only circumstance where we face this dilemma. We are married and our commitment is to tell the truth every time we are asked to fill out a form or respond to a question about our marital status.