Patty in the News

SEATTLE – Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. and Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., have joined five other senators in asking the IRS to provide guidance to same-sex couples who ran into problems filing their 2010 federal income tax returns.

"Today, each of our States recognizes same-sex marriages or domestic partnerships that the federal government does not recognize," the senators wrote in a letter to IRS commissioner Douglas Shulman. "When couples in these relationships attempted to calculate their tax returns this year, they encountered significant problems."

The letter also said couples in Washington, California and Nevada faced specific problems because of state community property laws.

"In each of these States, same-sex couples who are married or in registered domestic partnerships must pool and then divide their incomes to calculate their tax liability," the senators wrote. "The federal tax system, however, currently has no means of linking an individual's tax return to that of his or her spouse or domestic partner. As a result, underpayment penalties may be wrongly assessed or the system may incorrectly register that overpayments have been made."

The senators wrote that some of the problems could be solved by repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which states the federal government will only recognize marriages between a man and a woman.

- King 5