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Tax exclusion for married couples applies to domestic partners: California court

[JURIST] A California appeals court ruled [opinion, PDF] Tuesday that domestic partners, like married couples, can inherit real estate from one another without an increase in property taxes. The Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento [official website] found that the California Legislature and the state Board of Equalization [official websites] were within the bounds of the California Constitution [text] when they made regulatory and legislative changes that added transfers between domestic partners to a list of property transfers exempted from tax increases. Previously, the exemptions only applied when the transfer was between husbands and wives at death or divorce, or transfers to children or grandchildren. The lawsuit was brought by assessors who claimed that the definition of "change of ownership" was a part of the constitution, and that the limited exemptions could not be expanded.

In 2005, California's Third District Court of Appeals upheld [JURIST report] California's domestic partnership law [text]. Last year, the state's First District Court of Appeals upheld [JURIST report] the state's ban on gay marriage [Proposition 22 text]. In June, the California Assembly passed a bill restoring gender neutral language to the state's marriage laws, although it is possible that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official website] will veto it. The San Francisco Chronicle has more.

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