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State tax status of same-sex couples

While legally married same-sex couples residing in Colorado and around the country will be allowed by the Internal Revenue Service to file joint federal tax returns, some states with constitutional prohibitions against it will not afford couples living in those states the same status on their state returns. Same-sex couples in those states are facing rules that have been newly implemented to exclude those couples from claiming their federal married status on their state tax returns.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year, the Department of the Treasury decided that same-sex married couples would be recognized on the federal level for tax purposes, even in they lived in states prohibiting recognition of such couples. That meant that every couple was equal under the law for federal income tax purposes. In North Dakota, however, a supplemental tax schedule would carry instructions for members of a same-sex couple on how to report their separate shares of what the IRS considered their joint federal taxable income. Partners would have to file as single or as head of household.

Taxing authorities Idaho and Kansas have made similar announcements, but the director of Equality Kansas said that his state's revenue department's ruling could be in violation of a state law that permits married couples to use information on their federal tax returns to figure their state taxes. He recommended that Kansas officials follow existing state and federal guidelines, as not to do so would be discrimination.

Same-sex couples continue to face a variety of legal issues. An attorney with experience in family law matters may be able to advise a couple of their rights under federal and state laws.

Source: Huffington Post, "Some States Asking Same-Sex Married Couples To File As Singles", John Celock, October 09, 2013

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