Domestic Partner benefits
At Portland Community College, domestic partners are currently permitted to participate in any benefit program the State of Oregon and federal government allow. Commonly utilized programs include tuition waiver, health, dental and vision insurance, Voluntary life and AD&D insurance, EAP, Long Term Care, home mortgage programs, and homeowner and auto insurance. The federal government does not recognize domestic partnership, so participation in programs governed by IRS regulations such as flexible spending accounts are not allowed.
To utilize these benefits, a Certificate of Domestic Partnership must be filed with Human Resources.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can my partner’s dependent children also participate in PCC benefits programs?
- Yes. Dependent children of domestic partners may participate in most programs in the same way that stepchildren participate in PCC benefits programs. The only exception is the tuition waiver program. To be eligible, a child needs to be under the age of 24 and defined as a dependent under the Federal IRS rules.
- Are there any financial ramifications for Domestic Partner participation in PCC benefits programs that differ from married couples who participate?
- Yes. The Oregon Department of Revenue has guidelines about payroll taxes that must be collected when domestic partners benefit from employer provided programs. While the premium dollars that exceed your monthly flexible spending cap will be deducted from your payroll on a pre-tax basis, the value of the benefit for your domestic partner will be subject to tax as follows:
- Federal taxes - because domestic partnership is not recognized by the federal government/IRS, the deduction for benefits on a pre-tax basis is not allowed for domestic partners. Employers are required to deduct the value of the benefit extended to domestic partners and their dependent children on a post-tax basis. The portion of the deduction that is attributable to the employee will remain pre-tax.
- Based on the Tanner Decision, the Oregon Department of Revenue requires that we apply the same taxation policy that the IRS mandates only when the domestic partnership is opposite sex. Same sex partnerships, however, are not required to pay State of Oregon income taxes on the value of the benefits that their partner participates in through PCC, but are required to pay federal income taxes on that value.
You are strongly encouraged to discuss how premiums and taxes are handled for domestic partners with a benefits specialist.
- Is there required paperwork to get my Domestic Partner started in PCC Benefits Programs?
- Yes. A Certificate of Domestic Partnership is available online or from a Benefits Specialist by contacting Human Resources. Once the Certificate of Domestic Partnership is on file with the Benefits Office in HR, it may still be necessary to complete additional enrollment forms. For example:
- Adding a partner to health/dental benefits requires the Certificate of Domestic Partnership AND a Benefit Enrollment form.
- The Tuition Waiver Program requires the Certificate of Domestic Partnership AND a Tuition Waiver Authorization form.
Programs such as EAP, the home mortgage program, and group homeowners and auto do not require that additional paperwork be submitted to HR beyond the Certificate of Domestic Partnership. Check with a benefits specialist to be certain which forms are required for each benefit.