Monday, September 14, 2009

Misinformed Public

I work with many people who are common-law married whose spouses are benefitted through our employer. And they do not have to pay extra taxes on their insurance premiums, period.

Most people don't realize this inequity, queer and straight alike. Before I enrolled in benefits, I asked the lesbian I work with if she had ever been on the same benefits as her partner and if the extra taxation was worth it. She had no idea that domestic partner benefits are taxed differently than opposite-sex spouse benefits. She was shocked.

When I talked the other day with a few common-law married co-workers, they had no idea that domestic partners are taxed differently than they are. They did think it was ridiculous, but one of them stated, "At least they actually cover same-sex partners."

As much as that statement pissed me off, this person did have a good point. Most employers use the excuse of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to avoid having to dole out extra benefits to same-sex partners. But why settle? Sure, it's good to look for the silver lining in everything, but why must we continue to settle for extra taxes?

And why aren't the 912 crew protesting these extra taxes?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Taxation without Protestation

Today I got to see my first paycheck stub as a registered domestic partner, and I'm pretty annoyed. I'm grateful my domestic partner get on my health insurance, but I'm beginning to wonder if the costs are worth it.

In a single bi-weekly paycheck, I have to claim $196.77 as income that I will never see, and simply because Amy is not male. If she were male, we would be considered common law spouses and employer contributions to health/dental/vision plans would not be considered taxable income. But since Amy is not male, and we have to be domestically partnered instead of married, employer contributions to her health/dental/vision plans are added to my paycheck as taxable income that I will never see. $196.77. Per Paycheck. That's $196.77 x 24 paychecks annually, totaling $4,722.28 per year.

I'm no CPA, nor do I have any capabilities whatsoever to figure out how that adds up in terms of taxes paid, but I did look at old paychecks with similar gross pay (before the $196.77) and just can't believe how this might add up. The taxes I paid this paycheck are approximately twice that of what I paid on past paychecks with similar gross wages. That's approximately $60 extra per paycheck (approximately $1440 per year). $1,440 per year. Because Amy's a female. And if I happen to work multiple night shifts or pick up extra shifts, my gross pay will increase, leaving me even more vulnerable to extra taxation.

Somewhere factored into all this extra tax stuff is the lovely after-tax deductions that would be pre-tax deductions if Amy were male (and thank G-d she's not). Because we're not (and can't get) married, Amy's portions of the health/dental/vision premiums are considered post-tax deductions, which means an extra $33.09 per paycheck is considered taxable income, whereas if she were male, it would not be. That's an extra $794.16 a year of taxable income. According to my W-2's, I'ma be rich! If only my W-2's could pay the bills.

This is making me want to become a tea-bagger. But then again, I did domestically partner with a female for a reason... (To far? Yeah a bit so...but I couldn't help myself).

In all seriousness, I'm stunned at the hypocrisy of the tea-baggers. Why aren't they protesting this injustice? Why aren't they protesting the outrageous costs of war that our tax dollars fund? Why aren't they protesting the tax subsidies that corporations get for decimating local economies and polluting our water, land, and air? And I digress. But really--where is this in their discussion of extra tax burdens?

Yeah, I knew about the extra taxes going into this. And yeah, I'm grateful my employer will benefit my domestic partner. But I wanted to share with you all a tidbit of the reality of denying same-sex couples the rights to civil marriage. $1,440 a year.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Suburban Life?

Amy and I got ourselves a weed-whacker and a grill as our domestic-partnership-present to ourselves. And last night, we finally got to use the grill! Amy's Uncle Mike says this makes me an "official suburbanite," but I'm in denial. We don't have patio furniture yet anyways.

The weed-whacker was kind of a necessity to avoid getting fined for the massive mess our landlords left by our back fence in the alley. Hopefully we won't be getting anymore citations...