Bill to give gay couples same tax code as married couples
Resource type: News
Irish Times | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]
By Mary Minihan.
The Civil Partnership Bill is being examined by the Department of Finance to ensure homosexual couples who register their relationships will receive the same tax treatment as married couples.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has indicated the name of the proposed legislation will be changed to the Civil Partnership and Cohabitants Bill, but changes to the tax law will not apply to cohabitants.
The changes are expected to centre on income tax, although there may also be implications for the disposal of assets, a Department of Finance spokesman said. “Essentially, same-sex couples who register would be treated the same as married couples for taxation,” he said. “There is no question of the same tax . . . provisions being extended to cohabitants, be they same-sex or opposite-sex couples.” The Revenue Commissioners are being consulted and the changes will be introduced by way of future Finance Bill provisions, expected after the next budget in December. The option of civil partnership is not open to heterosexual couples on the grounds they can marry.
An examination of the implications of the Bill for the social welfare code is also being carried out by the Department of Social Protection, formerly the Department of Social and Family Affairs.
A spokeswoman for the department confirmed civil partners would be treated in the same way as married couples and necessary changes would be provided for in a future Social Welfare Bill. “On registration of a civil partnership, the civil partners will, it is intended . . . be treated in the same way as spouses under the tax and social welfare codes,” she said.
Mr Ahern wants the Bill to become law before the summer. During a recent committee stage discussion, he said the “commencement of the Bill depends on the work done by the other two Ministers involved and their departments”, in a reference to Ministers Brian Lenihan and Eamon 6 Cuiv. However, he also said there was provision to allow for the commencement of parts of the Bill at different times.
Opposition deputies will press the Minister to accept amendments after the Easter recess.
For more coverage on the Civil Partnership Bill, watch the video on RTE’s Prime Time.