Bank of America to reimburse gay employees for extra tax costs on health care

The Charlotte ObserverOctober 12, 2011 

Bank of America will soon reimburse gay employees who insure same-sex partners for the extra federal taxes they pay on health coverage.

The program was announced as part of the company's open enrollment for health, medical and dental insurance this month, and will go into effect next year, said company spokeswoman Ferris Morrison.

For heterosexual married couples, employer-paid health benefits for spouses are nontaxable, and employees can use pre-tax dollars to pay premiums. But for gay couples, the benefits are taxable and premiums must be paid with after-tax money.

The Bank of America program will make up that tax difference.

Large companies have long offered coverage to domestic partners. Bank of America has offered the coverage since 1998.

The Human Rights Campaign, a group that advocates for issues important to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, reports that the majority of employers with more than 5,000 workers now offer health insurance to employees' same-sex partners.

Tax-reimbursement programs are much more recent, and are only offered by a handful of employers, including Bain & Co., Barclays Capital and Facebook, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

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