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Same-sex couples to get tax do-over under House Dems’ bill

House Democrats announced new legislation Tuesday designed to give same-sex couples a chance to go back and refile tax returns from before 2013, making them eligible for back-refunds from before the IRS recognized same-sex marriages.

Sponsored by Rep. Judy Chu, the legislation, named the Promoting Respect for Individuals’ Dignity and Equality (PRIDE) Act, would also update the verbiage in tax law, deleting references to couples as husband and wife, and replacing them with the phrase “married couple” or “spouses.”

The bill will get its first action later this week in the House Ways and Means Committee.

Until 2013, the IRS only recognized marriages under the legal definition enshrined in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defined it as a coupling of one man and one woman.

After the Supreme Court struck down DOMA, the Obama administration moved to align federal policies. The IRS announced that anyone who’d had a legally recognized same-sex marriage would be eligible for the same status as any other married couple.

Ms. Chu’s new legislation would allow couples who’d legally married before the new IRS policy but had to file as unmarried individuals to go back and refile as couples.

Also on tap for the Thursday committee meeting is a bill expanding tax breaks such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, and repealing a part of the GOP’s 2017 tax overhaul that made some employer benefits such as public transportation or parking fees a taxable cost for nonprofits, who had previously been exempt.

“Unlike the Republican tax law, this substantial legislation’s primary aim is to help workers and struggling families get ahead,” said Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, Massachusetts Democrat.

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