SHOCKING! I know right? But hear me out. Here, in California, where I live, registered domestic partners have to prepare three Federal tax returns between two individuals. Currently, Federal law does not acknowledged domestic partnerships, so when it comes to filing their income tax returns, they file two separate individual tax returns. Nothing new here. But when they file their California return, these two people MUST file as “married separately” or “married jointly”. However, since filing a joint California return requires numbers from a joint Federal return; a third “dummy” Federal tax return must be prepared. So that’s 2 individual Federal returns and 1 dummy joint Federal return as opposed to just 1 tax return a married couple would file.
Currently there are roughly 40,000 couples that have registered as domestic partners in California. Here’s where we get crazy with some assumptions. Assuming each one of these couples does not e-file, and that the average return is about 15 pages; an additional 120,000 pages of paper are created every year. All of which is due to this discrepancy between Federal and state law.
Disclaimer: This article does not condone nor condemn gay marriage, nor does acknowledge or deny the link between paper usage and global warming. I’m not pushing a certain agenda, but merely pointing out this new complication. There are probably other, more important resources being wasted (preparation costs, retooling of tax software, etc.), but the paper is the most tangible example.