West Palm Beach Refunds Insurance Tax to Couples in Domestic Partnerships

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West Palm Beach city commissioners approved on April 29 an ordinance to refund taxes paid on health insurance to unmarried domestic partners. West Palm Beach is the only city in Florida to pass such legislation.

Robert Telford, a broadcast coordinator for the city’s television station, told the Palm Beach Post he decided to work for the city 17 years ago because of the city’s “progressive attitude toward domestic partner benefits.”

“No matter what happens this summer with the Supreme Court this tax equity ordinance is a huge step in the right direction for potential businesses and employers who want to live here,” Telford said at the commission meeting.

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Currently, federal laws state that straight couples who are married and receive health insurance from their employers are not taxed on the value of the coverage. Federal laws do not recognize unmarried domestic partners.

The new ordinance creates a formula by which the city will reimburse the employees for the money they would have received if the federal government recognized domestic partnerships, according to the Post.

The city has 16 employees enrolled as having domestic partners and the ordinance will cost West Palm Beach nearly $18,000 over the next year, or more than $1,100 per employee. Ryan Dixon

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