TaxPersonal TaxTax headache looms over gay couple rights

Tax headache looms over gay couple rights

Government proposals for the legal recognition of same-sex couples will cause enormous confusion for tax advisers, experts warned this week.

Link: Gay couples may get tax benefits

Jaqui Smith, deputy minister for women and equality, published the proposals on Monday. And while hailed as long overdue by some, tax experts said that not enough thought had gone into the issues surrounding tax.

‘The document doesn’t give definite proposals of the changes, with only one paragraph devoted to necessary changes that will be made,’ said Maggie Fleming, director and head of tax at gay-focused financial planner Isis. ‘We would have liked a definite commitment to inheritance tax, for example.’

John Whiting, a tax partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, agreed with Fleming. ‘It’s a Pandora’s box, but it does need opening,’ he said. He added that same-sex couples enjoy certain benefits such as being exempt from capital gains tax on two house purchases, while married couples are only exempt on one.

Fleming accepted the point: ‘If you get the advantages of legal status, then you also have to take the responsibility that goes with it,’ she said.

The proposals came as cities around the world, including San Francisco, hosted Mardi Gras celebrations at the weekend.

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