New York To Give Estate Tax Refunds To Surviving Same-Sex Spouses
Cha-ching! New York is about to start issuing refund check$$$ to surviving same-sex spouses that were penalized by estate taxes under DOMA!
Following Edie Windsor’s Supreme Court victory last month challenging DOMA, which denied federal recognition to same-sex couples, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday announced New York would refund estate taxes paid by surviving spouses of same-sex marriages. The refunds will be offered to those whose spouses died as recently as 2008, reports the Daily News, three years before New York legalized same-sex marriage. As the governor’s office points out, three years is the typical limit for a taxpayer to file an estate tax claim, credit, or refund.
Cuomo called the compensation “one more step toward justice” in a press release. “The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA was a groundbreaking civil rights victory that brought the LGBT community closer to the true meaning of equal rights under the law,” he said. “As a result of that decision, New York State is now able to issue refund checks to qualified same-sex spouses who were required to pay taxes for no reason other than their sexual orientation.”
This is an excellent show of good faith on the part of New York Gov. Cuomo. As Freedom To Marry's Evan Wolfson points out to MSNBC, “The case in front of the Supreme Court did not directly involve state taxation, but the language and logic of the court’s ruling does apply. And state officials, much like federal officials, will need to work to get state laws in conformity with the command of the constitution.”
While New York may not have technically had to provide a refund since the Windsor case against the federal government rather than the state, this was definitely the right thing to do and sends a clear signal to the LGBT community that New York wants to treat all of its citizens equally.
Will other states follow suit? Will they be forced to?