October 8, 2007
California Tax Exemption for Domestic Partners OK
In a recent case decided on Oct. 2, 2007, a California Appellate Court upheld the decision of a trial court ruling that laws permitting tax benefits for domestic partners constitutional. Strong v. State Bd. of Equalization, 2007 WL 2834475 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 2, 2007).
Apparently, the rule permitting the extension of a spousal transfer of property tax exclusion (adopted by the California legislature in 2005, offended the local county tax assessors, who sued claiming that the law was unconstitutional. Id. at *1.
As the law was justified by a rational basis, the court upheld the tax protection afforded domestic partners under California law. Id. at *7.
The most interesting part of the case is the fact that the tax assessors felt it was important to bring this particular lawsuit. It demonstrates how adamant some opponents of gay rights are in trying to limit opportunities for same sex couples. The law was challenged as hinging on "social policy"--one that, apparently, was not well-regarded by the plaintiff tax assessors.
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