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How Taxes Affect Same-Sex Couples

Like clockwork, just as spring weather starts to set in, tax time enters and Americans are racing against the tax deadline of April 15. Some people may like to get their taxes out of the way as soon as they receive their W2s and may have their tax refunds in their accounts before Tax Day arrives. Others put off filing tax returns either because they owe the government money or because the daunting task of filing doesn’t take high priority.

Image courtesy of Anoop Krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of Anoop Krishnan at freedigitalphotos.net

Whatever category you fall into, one of the most important things to understand is how you should file your taxes depending on the state you reside. Tax filing status has changed for same-sex couples in recent years. In August 2013, the IRS decided that same-sex couples who are legally married will be treated as married for federal tax purposes as well. This is applicable whether or not the state where they live recognizes same-sex marriages.

There are still variables per state when dealing with tax purposes. Also, life decisions like buying a new home, starting a new business, moving to a different state all apply to how a person files their taxes and which deductions they can claim and which expenses they need to list.

The difference in state and federal laws can become confusing and same-sex couples can find themselves facing concerns when it comes to the IRS based off of a misunderstanding or miscommunication of what the law says, both on a state and federal level and how it may differ. It’s beneficial to call upon a tax debt relief company if these issues arise in order to have an advocate on your side when dealing with the IRS.

Federal Tax Filing

When it comes to filing federal tax returns, the government must recognize same-sex couples who are legally married under state laws. This means that same-sex couples can file a joint federal income tax return or choose to file as married filing separately to receive tax benefits given to married couples. Additionally, children of same-sex couples can be claimed as a dependent on a joint tax return or if filing separately, one person can claim the child as a dependent. Knowing the best options for filing and how to file is a decision that taxpayers might want to first discuss with a tax professional to compare any potential pros or cons of either choice.

State Tax Filing

Currently, thirteen states and Washington, D.C. all recognize the marriage of same-sex couples.

State tax filing for same-sex couples differs from federal because it is dependent on where the couple lives. If a couple resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, then for state laws, the couple must file as single and follow all state tax rules that apply to those of single status. However, if the state recognizes civil unions or domestic partnerships in the same way as marriage for tax purposes, then a same-sex couple must file as a married couple for state and federal purposes.

A tax debt relief company, CPA or another type of tax professional can step in and help you if you find that these rulings and filings become too much of a headache. It’s important to know how to properly file, but with the changing of laws, it can become tricky. In order to file mistake-free, hiring a professional can help ease this concern for you.

Additionally, tax professionals know the industry inside and out and can make sure you are receiving the top benefits owed to you. You can hire a tax debt relief company if you need more time to pay back taxes and would like to request a payment plan. They can serve as a representative for you and be a go-between for you and the IRS.

Image courtesy of patpitchaya at freedigitalphotos.net
Image courtesy of patpitchaya at freedigitalphotos.net

With all of the difficulties Americans face with filing taxes, whether it’s figuring out how to file for side jobs or figuring out if you should be filing as married or single, it’s comforting to know that there are professionals and services that can handle all of this for you and ensure no mistakes are made. Even if you do not face back taxes, a tax professional can take care of your tax return for you and ensure that you are filing correctly, protect all necessary information, and keep your financial documents in order. No matter what type of dilemma you might face with the IRS, it’s nice to have peace of mind from a tax debt relief company or representative, especially at one of the more stressful times of the year for everyone: Tax Day.

About Sherrie W.

Sherrie is a part-time contributor to All the Frugal Ladies. She currently works for a small publishing firm in Sydney and enjoys writing about her frugal (and not so frugal) life experiences and lessons learned along the way :)

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