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The July issue of The CPA Journal had an article, "IRS Says that Domestic Partner Fringe Benefits Are Taxable," by Roy Whitehead, Jr. The article dealt with IRS PLR 9717018, which states domestic partner fringe benefits are taxable as gross wages.

The article made references to the Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104-199) as justification for the IRS position taxing Domestic Partner Fringe Benefits. The Defense of Marriage Act was enacted in response to the potential legalization of same gender marriage in Hawaii, and discriminates against gays and lesbians. The IRS positions in PLR 9717018 primarily affect gays and lesbians who will be taxed on the very same fringe benefits that married heterosexuals receive tax free.

I find it shocking that the article, while discussing this, never mentions that the principal group of taxpayers that will feel the burden of this ruling will be gays and lesbians. This is especially shocking in view of the repeated references to the Defense of Marriage Act.

In addition to not mentioning the affected principal group of taxpayers, the article erroneously singles out low and middle income taxpayers as the primarily affected group. Heterosexual low and middle income taxpayers can negate the effect of this ruling by exercising their option to marry. Gay and lesbian taxpayers have no such option.

In view of the above, the choice of the photo accompanying the article is clearly inappropriate. The photo is of a woman and two children. The individuals in the photo will most likely not feel the effects of the IRS position. A far more appropriate photo, especially in light of the article's failure to mention these people, would be a photo of gay or lesbian domestic partners. *

Gary Konecky

The CPA Journal is broadly recognized as an outstanding, technical-refereed publication aimed at public practitioners, management, educators, and other accounting professionals. It is edited by CPAs for CPAs. Our goal is to provide CPAs and other accounting professionals with the information and news to enable them to be successful accountants, managers, and executives in today's practice environments.

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