Journalists Guide to Fair, Accurate, Inclusive Reporting on Tax Day

As April 17 approaches, Americans are turning their attention to filling out paperwork and sorting through complicated rules to file their federal and state income taxes. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, many of the complex rules that affect income tax filing are compounded by ambiguous laws and the absence of legal protections, which can have a major impact on the financial security of LGBT individuals and couples alike. GLAAD encourages journalists to highlight the impact of discriminatory laws on LGBT Americans in their coverage of tax day.

Tax law allows people to deduct medically necessary expenses, but the policies on tax deductions for sex reassignment surgery (SRS) for transgender people are unclear, though deductions have been granted in the past. Attorneys advise those who are in transition and planning to undergo SRS to stay mindful of future audits where they may be forced to prove their treatments and surgery are medically necessary.

In recent years, this practice has been challenged. In Massachusetts, local tax examiners overturned the IRS decision to allow deductions for SRS because they viewed the operation as ?cosmetic.? The case is now being litigated by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) of New England.