Asking Questions in Washington, D.C.

Surveying Members of Congress

Members of Congress have never been surveyed about their attitudes on the issue of unfair taxation of unmarried and single Americans. No one had taken the time to ask before. Well, that is about to change.

A short questionnaire, entitled "Federal Taxation of Unmarried Americans: 2001 Congressional Survey," is being mailed by AASP to every U.S. Senator and Representative, along with a copy of this newsletter. (A copy of the questionnaire appears on page 7.)

capitol.jpg (47970 bytes) We are also asking our members to send their own copy of the questionnaire to their member of Congress and to the two senators representing their state. If our elected officials hear from their constituents, maybe they will respond and share their views on these issues.

We don’t claim to have all of the answers on how to end unfair taxation of unmarried Americans, and we are not lobbying for any specific legislation, but we do think that the concerns of single people should be discussed in Congress.

We will report on our findings after we return from our trip to Washington. We will include the results on our website, issue a press release over PR Newswire, and include a story in our June newsletter.

Are You a Head of Household?

You may think you are the head of your household – and factually that may be true when it comes to the financial burden you have assumed to support household members. But the IRS may disagree. Why? Because your relationship with other household members is not one the federal government considers important.

In California alone, more than 240,000 taxpayers received audit letters last year, challenging their status as head of household. A change from this category, to that of "single taxpayer" could cost thousands of dollars.

Only "qualifying individuals" who live with you can legally make you a "head of household." People not related to you by blood or marriage, or even "distant" blood relatives, don’t qualify, even though they live with you and you provide more than half of their support.

Your domestic partner, your partner’s biological child, your cousin, or even your own foster child who is over 18, won’t qualify. Doesn’t your "working family" count? Apparently some families count more than others.









Traveling to the Nation’s Capitol

We are headed for Washington on a fact finding mission, determined to find out what our nation’s leaders think about the unfair taxation of unmarried Americans.

Thomas F. Coleman, executive director, and Stephanie Knapik, public affairs director, will arrive in the Capitol on April 30, 2001, and will spend the entire week asking questions and searching for information.

We plan to meet with senators, representatives, and their staff members. We also will try to connect with leaders of both major political parties.

This is an historic event in the singles rights movement. It is the first time that a national organization for single people has sent representatives to Washington to meet with our elected representatives.

We are not going to the Capitol to lobby for any specific piece of legislation. But we are concerned that the political conversation in this session of Congress, much as it has been for several years, is focusing almost entirely on the concerns of married couples and "working families."

What about the concerns of the 80 million unmarried adults in the nation? Why are so many of us excluded from the debate?

We want to hear from members of Congress whether they feel that all Americans should be treated fairly when it comes to the income tax, the death tax, and the social security tax, or whether they feel that unmarried Americans should have to pay more than our fair share.

Senators and Representatives may never have given much thought to the issue of marital status discrimination in the tax codes, other than to trip all over themselves as they try to fix the so-called "marriage penalty" in the income tax law. The media fanned the political flames so much on this issue that the truth has been obscured. In fact, there are more couples who gain a "marriage bonus" from filing joint returns than couples who suffer a penalty.

Image3.gif (32368 bytes) In politics as in life, it is the squeaky wheel that gets oiled. Married people don’t have to speak up too loudly since the overwhelming majority of those in Congress are married. But unmarried and single Americans have been silent, watching from the sidelines as decisions about our lives are made by elected officials.

Times are changing. We are asking questions – and we want some honest answers. Look to our website in May and to our June newsletter for the results of our trip.

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