Source NTCE: In a closely-watched case, the United States Tax Court overwhelmingly ruled on Tuesday in O'Donnabhain v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue that a transgender woman's medical expenses for hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery were medically necessary and therefore tax-deductible under Federal law. After considering extensive medical evidence and testimony from leading medical experts, the court rejected an interpretation of the law that would consider transgender people's medical treatment different than all other medically necessary treatment recommended by major medical and psychological organizations.
"Finally, we have recognition from the courts of what transgender people and our medical providers have known all along-that transition related care is absolutely necessary health care for the wellbeing of many transgender people," said Mara Keisling, the Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. "Being able to deduct a portion of costly medical treatments will make it more affordable for transgender people to follow through with the care their doctors prescribe. For the IRS to treat transgender people and non-transgender people differently was discrimination, plain and simple, and now that has ended."
The court's decision does not mean that all medical treatments and procedures associated with gender transition will be tax-deductible. Like all other medical treatments, deductibility will be based on the medical necessity of the treatment as determined by qualified medical providers in accordance with recognized clinical standards of care. The court recognized, as have the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association and many others, based on overwhelming medical evidence, that transition-related health care is non-cosmetic, medically necessary healthcare.
The case stems from a decision by the IRS to reject Rhiannon O'Donnabhain's deduction of her expenses for sex reassignment surgery in 2001 from her federal income tax. The case went to trial in 2007. Ms. O'Donnabhain was represented by the Transgender Rights Project of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD).
NCTE applauds GLAD's groundbreaking and powerful work and perseverance to win this important victory, and thanks Rhiannon O'Donnabhain for her willingness to stand up and challenge the inequity of the IRS's policies. Her courage and determination will have an impact on the health of transgender people around our country for many years to come.
CONFERENCE CALL TONIGHT
Hear more about the case NCTE is joining GLAD in a community conference call GLAD is hosting tonight (Wednesday) February 3 at 6PM EST / 3PM PST. Attorneys who worked on the case will be on the call explain the case and its ramifications for transgender people. Call in information:
Toll Free Dial-In Number: 1-800-704-9804
Participant Code(s): 61898641#
Wednesday February 3
6:00 PM Eastern Time Zone
5:00 PM Central Time Zone
4:00 PM Mountain Time Zone
3:00 PM Pacific Time Zone
For more information visit transequality.org
Alishia is a firefighter. Enoch is a university professor. Dana is a software engineer. Jesse is an HIV prevention educator. Each makes invaluable contributions in the work place and in the community. And each faces the threat of losing a job, being denied housing or health care, and suffering violence and harassment simply for being transgender.
In Everyone Matters: Dignity and Safety for Transgender People - a new video produced by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders(GLAD) Transgender Rights Proejct, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coaltion (MTPC), and MassEquality - Alishia, Enoch, Dana, and Jesse talk about their jobs, their family, their hopes, and their worries. Framed by hope and optimism, their stories nevertheless show how vulnerable transgender people still are, and highlight the need for comprehensive laws to ensure that people can obtain and retain employment, remain safe on the streets, and have access to health care and housing.
Everyone Matters allows the viewer to hear from transgender people first-hand about their lives, and makes a powerful case for the passage of transgender-inclusive anti-discrimination and hate crimes laws in Massachusetts and beyond.
Please support the passage of transgender-inclusive non-discrimination and hate crimes legislation. For more information visit Glad.org