Palm Beach County Commissioner to ask for tax equity for employees with domestic partners

Plan would relieve federal tax burden

Some local leaders want tax equity for couples in domestic partnerships in Palm Beach County. 

County commissioner Mary Lou Berger is expected to ask her colleagues to look into reimbursing county employees whose domestic partners are covered by the county's health insurance plan. The request comes following the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act last week. Officials said doing this would help offset the unequal federal tax burden. In Florida, opposite sex married employees are exempt from paying federal taxes on the value of their spouse's health insurance benefits. Unmarried employees in domestic partnerships are still required to pay federal taxes on the imputed value of the health insurance benefits provided to their partners. Berger is making her proposal at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council. Council president Rand Hoch stated in a letter to commissioners that,"It makes no sense for some employees to pay higher taxes than other employees earning the same salary for the identical family health insurance benefits." Other cities in Florida, including Miami and West Palm Beach, have enacted tax equity ordinances to help offset the federal tax burden.  Some employers give annual $500.00 stipends to help offset the cost.