FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Babette Josephs
Josephs: Domestic partners should be exempt from state inheritance tax
HARRISBURG, May 23 – At a Capitol news conference today, state Rep. Babette Josephs, D-Phila., called on House Republicans to move her legislation that would add domestic partners to the list of people who are exempt from paying state inheritance taxes.
"I believe that the institution of marriage is sacred and quite special; however, there are many people who are in deeply committed relationships, but for personal reasons, choose not to enter into the institution of marriage. Others are prevented by law from marriage because of their gender," Josephs said. "Nevertheless, both types of these domestic partnership arrangements do not preclude a committed, loving and monogamous relationship.
"Under the commonwealth's inheritance tax laws, the state victimizes the surviving partner of that committed couple by subjecting that partner to a significant financial burden while he or she is also experiencing the emotional trauma of a loved one's passing."
Josephs' legislation (H.B. 1828) would define a domestic partnership as a relationship not defined by marriage or a civil union, but one where the two people agree to mutual interdependence and take responsibility for the maintenance and support of the other.
In order to prove this relationship for an inheritance tax exemption, the surviving domestic partner would have to provide a signed partnership affidavit and any two documents proving their:
· joint liability of a mortgage, lease or loan;
· primary beneficiary on the other's life insurance policy or retirement plan;
· primary beneficiary on the deceased's will;
· durable power of attorney for health care or financial management;
· joint ownership or lease of a motor vehicle;
· joint checking account, investments or credit account;
· joint renter's or homeowner's insurance policy;
· coverage on a health insurance policy;
· joint responsibility for child care, such as guardianship or school documents; or
· relationship or cohabitation contract.
Josephs said that at a 15 percent rate, the surviving partner's inheritance tax bill could be in the tens of thousands of dollars. Currently, only spouses and parents of children under 21 are exempt from paying inheritance taxes on property bequeathed them.
Also speaking at the news conference was David Jacobs, one of Josephs' constituents, who was the impetus for her legislation. In a committed same-sex relationship, Jacobs spoke about how he will be impacted if this legislation is not enacted. Also attending in support were Rep. Dan Frankel, Josephs' co-chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, Ted Martin, executive director of Equality PA and a number of Pennsylvanians.