This is the year that taxes get more uniform for same-sex couples, regardless of the state in which they live.
Since 2013, when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, married same-sex couples have been able to file a joint federal tax return. If they lived in a state that did not allow same-sex marriage, though, they could not file a joint state return. The dueling tax returns added confusion, complexity and cost to the couples’ tax situations. The Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015 legalized same-sex marriage across the country. That means that gay and lesbian couples no longer have to lead a double tax life.
Two Questions for Same Sex Couples
How should we file? Now the challenge for same-sex couples will be in determining which filing status is best for them, married filing jointly or married filing separately. A tax calculator can give couples a glimpse at which filing status may offer the lowest tax liability. A tax preparer can also offer solid advice, depending on the couple’s situation.
Should we amend? Couples that live in one of the 13 states that did not recognize their union until the 2015 Supreme Court ruling, can also consider filing an amended 2014 state tax return. Naturally, couples will want to weigh whether the change in filing status will be beneficial to them in terms of their tax bracket, tax credits and deductions. Those 13 states are: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio and Tennessee.
Couples with questions should talk with their tax professional to determine how they should proceed.