Gay couples in America who are married have no right to lower tax rates as the US government only recognises straight marriage, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

The IRS has sent out warnings that same sex couples legally married in Massachusetts or registered as domestic partners in states such as California and New Jersey still have to file separate income tax forms, rather than joint ones which straight couples who divide their incomes do.

Lambda Legal senior attorney David Buckle told a gay news website, “Not only does the federal government label gay relationships as unworthy but it then turns around and steels our money.” It is not the first time the IRS has issued a warning. A similar one came out after same-sex couple began marrying in Massachusetts. “

Last year a Minnesota federal judge dismissed a gay couple’s lawsuit asking for a tax refund because they were legally married and should be granted married taxpayer status.

Additionally gays or lesbians who receive health insurance for their domestic partners are taxed because the IRS views the benefits as income.

A study by the Human Rights Campaign and the Urban Institute in 2004 revealed that gay families pay on average higher taxes and get fewer benefits.