State Rep. Brian Sims (D-182nd Dist.) plans to introduce an amendment that would allow those in domestic partnerships to apply for a rebate program after the death of a partner.
Sims plans to submit Amendment 00701 to House Bill 468, also known as the Taxpayer Relief Act. The amendment would add domestic partners, both same- and opposite-sex, to the list of family members qualified to apply for property tax and rent rebates on behalf of a deceased family member.
Sims planned to submit the amendment earlier this month, but the legislation was dropped from consideration twice. He said he will offer it the next time it is on the table.
“The bill won’t become law until the next time it is voted on and this could be days or weeks,” Sims explained. “If my amendment passes, then in the third consideration, it will hopefully be a part of the bill.”
Sims said the amendment could affect countless Pennsylvanians.
“This will create a pretty expansive definition of family members. This could lesson the burden on LGBT people and of all our heterosexual neighbors.”
But, same-sex partners — currently excluded from the inheritance-tax exemption and other laws — are especially impacted.
“Whether you recognize the sanctity of LGBT relationships or not, recognize they do exist,” Sims said. “Nowhere in Pennsylvania law do we define domestic partners. What we will have done for the first time in Pennsylvania history is include a definition of domestic partnership.”
The current rebate program is designed for residents 65 and older, widows and widowers over 50 and people with disabilities over 18. It provides a rebate for homeowners and renters of between $500-$650. The income limit for homeowners is $35,000 and $15,000 for renters.