Bank of America, the nation’s largest bank holding company, has announced plans to reimburse gay employees for the additional taxes they pay on same-sex couple healthcare plans.
Because the Defense of Marriage Act currently prohibits federal recognition of same-sex unions, healthcare benefits for same-sex partners are counted as taxable income if the partner is not considered a spouse or dependent.
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.
“This change came as a result of our benefits plans to ensure they meet the diverse needs of our employees and supports our long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion,” said Morrison.
Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., said the option will only be offered to gay couples, since heterosexual domestic partners have the option to marry and avoid the extra taxes.