Group Calls for IRS Action against Gay Marriage Tax Filers
The text of the letter is as follows:
Hon. Mark W. Everson
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
Internal Revenue Service
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1111 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Suite 3000
Washington, D.C. 20224-0002
Re: Notification of Potential Fraudulent Tax Scheme
Dear Mr. Everson:
This letter is sent to you as Commissioner of Internal Revenue to alert you of a potential fraudulent tax scheme.
Public Advocate of the United States, Inc. (“Public Advocate”) is a social welfare organization, exempt from federal taxation as an organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Public Advocate educates the public on public policy issues, engages in advocacy, conducts various programs, and publishes information to further those ends.
The matter we are writing you about has to do with the recent practices, in certain jurisdictions throughout the United States — including specifically San Francisco, California — of rebellious state and local officials reportedly permitting persons of the same sex to marry in flagrant disobedience of applicable laws defining marriage as a union between a male and a female.
Persons engaging in such wedding ceremonies, based upon certain published accounts, seek the legal status afforded by lawful marriage so that they may avail themselves of various benefits of marital status despite the illegality of such “marriages.”
The potential for such persons attempting to evade federal and state income tax obviously is quite significant. By declaring themselves “married,” and submitting joint federal tax returns, for example, such persons could attempt to benefit from the “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” federal income tax rates currently available only to a “husband” and a “wife” who are legitimately married. 26 U.S.C. section 6013.
Of course, whether “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” causes two persons to pay less tax than two single individuals depends on the specifics of each situation. However, where there is a tax benefit to be had, persons other than lawfully married “husbands” and “wives” claiming to be married could be an effort to avail themselves of federal tax benefits to which they are not entitled, and would be blatantly illegal.
This kind of activity could mushroom into a dangerous tax scam throughout the United States. Although we have no idea at this time concerning the aggregate impact of such a scheme on the federal government, the loss of revenues to the federal government from federal income taxes clearly would be substantial.
We assume that you will direct the Internal Revenue Service to undertake appropriate measures to investigate any such possible unlawful activity.
In addition, however, we would respectfully suggest that the Internal Revenue Service take the initiative to ward off any such illegal conduct. For example, it would seem appropriate to publish an announcement or notice in the Internal Revenue Bulletin detailing the scheme and announcing that the Internal Revenue Service will be monitoring such activity and prosecuting individuals who participate in such unlawful activity to the fullest extent of the law.
We would appreciate learning your views about the legality of the activity described above, as well as any information you can share at this time about how the Internal Revenue Service, under your leadership, plans to deter the conduct described herein. Thank you.
Eugene A. Delgaudio