Biden’s Build Back Better Act could give same-sex married couples tax refunds

Build Back Better Plan Same-Sex Married Couples

President Joe Biden’s social spending plan, the Build Back Better Act, could let some married couples file amended returns and potentially receive refunds. Photo: iStock

Some married same-sex couples may get retroactive federal income tax refunds if Congress passes the latest version of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Act.

The bill, a sweeping social and environmental spending plan, would make those who were legally married before 2010 eligible for certain benefits that are now otherwise unavailable, CNBC reports.

After the Supreme Court struck down the main part of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages, the Internal Revenue Service started letting couples in these marriages file amended tax returns — jointly as a couple — back to 2010. But under the current version of the Build Back Better Act, same-sex couples married before that date could file amended returns back to the year of their marriage.

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Five states offered legally recognized marriages to same-sex couples before 2010 — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont — as did the District of Columbia.

Allowing the amended tax returns back to the date of the marriage “is a fair thing to do,” Steve Wamhoff, director of federal tax policy at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, told CNBC. “People were married (but) the federal government wasn’t recognizing their marriages.”

If the Build Back Better Act passes in its current form, couples in which the spouses have a wide gap in income would benefit most from refiling, financial planner Jeffrey Levine told the business channel. Spouses with similar incomes likely wouldn’t see an advantage from refiling as a married couple, as that would probably push them into a higher tax bracket.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on the bill this week, after which the Senate would take it up. Both chambers have a Democratic majority, but some of the more conservative Democrats may seek to amend the bill to cut spending.

This article originally appeared on, and is shared here as part of an LGBTQ+ community exchange between Q Voice News and Pride Media.

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Trudy Ring

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