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TaxTrollEA on tax effects of DOMA decision

We're all celebrating a day that I - personally - never thought I'd live to see: the day that the US Supreme Court ruled that federal law must accept state-recognized marriages of same-sex couples.

But, of course, immediately there have been dozens of "what happens now" threads on the internet, some from otherwise reliable sources, which are providing misinformation or - in the very least - jumping the gun on matters that must still be clarified by Congress and the IRS.

First and foremost, a couple who is recognized as married under state law is now considered married for federal purposes too. That's a given, and such couples should be able to file joint tax returns for 2013* (Note that, if you elect to file separately, your status will now be Married Filing Separately ... NOT Single. MFS status may cost you a bit more tax.)

*I've already seen a thread where people have suggested that one can amend back years to file jointly. This is something that has to come from the IRS, and is far from certain. But a cold reading of the decision is that they struck down Sec 3 of DOMA as if it never existed, which possibly opens the door to doing just that. Likely the IRS will rule - as they did when they extended community property laws to certain gay marrieds and RDPs a few years ago - that the filing as "married" is mandatory for 2013, but optional if you want to go back and amend. We have to wait and see.

Another set of messages I read suggests that same sex couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions in their state are now "upgraded" to marriage. I really doubt this will be the case, since no government can "make" you married if you didn't enter into one. Some states may facilitate marriages for those previously RDPs, but that's about it.

What if you live in a state that doesn't currently recognize same-sex marriages (like AZ), but got married in a state that did (like MA). I have a client in this exact situation and they already called. The problem is that Sec 2 of DOMA - which gave the states the right to refuse to honor a same-sex marriage from another state - was NOT part of the court ruling today, and technically still stands. We'll have to "wait and see" how that will work out.

What if you got married in, say, Canada? Also unclear at this point, but it is unlikely that the DOMA decision will provide any relief.

That's about it for now, and I'll add comments if I hear anything further. Meanwhile, please take with a grain of salt (and a strong Margarita :) anything you read about "what this means" on internet message boards.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3707/18/2013

[quote]The problem is that Sec 2 of DOMA - which gave the states the right to refuse to honor a same-sex marriage from another state - was NOT part of the court ruling today, and technically still stands.

If we're being technical: under the Full Faith & Credit Clause of Article Four of the Constitution, states have to respect the "public acts, records, and proceedings of every other state." Although Sec. 2 of DOMA wasn't at issue in the Windsor case, I find it very difficult to believe that it will continue to pass muster now that Sec. 3 has been deemed unconstitutional. Granted, we may have to wait for another case to come along to adjudicate this particular issue, but still. (Actually, I've been surprised that no one's previously challenged DOMA on Sec. 2 grounds -- or, at least, SCOTUS hasn't granted cert to such a case.)

by TaxTrollEAreply 106/26/2013

TaxTroll, first, thank you for this post and your previous ones.

Wouldn't it be the case in your MA/AZ scenario that those federal benefits administered by the federal government; i.e., federal income taxes, passing of SS benefits to spouse, be allowed to the AZ resident, but other programs like ADAP or Medicare that are federal programs administered by the state be diasallowed, or at least unclear?

by TaxTrollEAreply 206/26/2013

[quote]Although Sec. 2 of DOMA wasn't at issue in the Windsor case, I find it very difficult to believe that it will continue to pass muster now that Sec. 3 has been deemed unconstitutional. Granted, we may have to wait for another case to come along to adjudicate this particular issue, but still. (Actually, I've been surprised that no one's previously challenged DOMA on Sec. 2 grounds --

R1, I absolutely agree with you, that Sec 2 will EVENTUALLY be struck down. My point is that we haven't hit that hurdle yet. At best, we have a federal law DOMA, what's left of it) that seems to contradict the Constitution. We have to wait till the fat lady sings. :)

by TaxTrollEAreply 306/26/2013

[quote]*I've already seen a thread where people have suggested that one can amend back years to file jointly. This is something that has to come from the IRS, and is far from certain.

Edith Windsor's attorney said this morning that the federal government now has to refund the estate tax that Edith paid when her partner died. That implies that everything is now backdated to the date of marriage.

by TaxTrollEAreply 406/26/2013

[quote]Wouldn't it be the case in your MA/AZ scenario that those federal benefits administered by the federal government; i.e., federal income taxes, passing of SS benefits to spouse, be allowed to the AZ resident, but other programs like ADAP or Medicare that are federal programs administered by the state be diasallowed, or at least unclear?

The default here is that the feds have to acknowledge a marriage valid under state law. If AZ says (and they do) that a marriage doesn't exist unless the people are of opposite genders, then the marriage in MA means nothing in AZ, and the couple is single as long as they live in that state.

But it bring up some interesting scenarios. Say them move to MA (or any state with gay marriage) ... are they "instantly" considered married? And then, what if they move to another state that doesn't recognize it ... are they "divorced" (More likely, the marriage is treated as if it never existed while remaining in that new state.) It opens ALL SORTS of weird scenarios, which the feds and states will eventually have to deal with. Stay tuned.

by TaxTrollEAreply 506/26/2013

[quote]Edith Windsor's attorney said this morning that the federal government now has to refund the estate tax that Edith paid when her partner died. That implies that everything is now backdated to the date of marriage.

First of all, for those who may not know, Edith Windsor is a 93+ y/o lady who brought the lawsuit against the feds challenging DOMA, which is essentially the catalyst that resulted in today's landmark ruling. She was challenging the IRS refusal to allow her to have an unlimited deduction from federal estate taxes for the value of her deceased same-sex spouse's estate (which is allowed to married couples).

When something is ruled to be unconstitutional, it is essentially treated as if it never existed. So, her attorney certainly has a basis to TRY to get a refund of the estate tax, and I believe he will ultimately get that. But since such an action could open the doors for lots of other retroactive settlements, including income taxes, this will likely be something that the IRS will fight and courts will have to ultimately decide. Personally, I feel the IRS may OK this as a private letter ruling (which would apply ONLY to THIS taxpayer, which means others would have to sue individually or apply for similar rulings.)

by TaxTrollEAreply 606/26/2013

TaxTroll, what is the best marriage-equality state to move to in terms of taxes? I think Washington is the only equality state that doesn't have a state income tax, but I think they have a state estate tax.

I hope Florida allows same-sex marriage in the near future.

by TaxTrollEAreply 706/26/2013

R7, unsure what you mean by "Best" marriage equality state. If they have marriage equality, they're all pretty much the same on that level. That leaves criteria like quality of life, antidiscrimination laws that include us, cost of living, climate, local politics, arts/entertainment that suits you, income taxes (WA has no income tax, but does have a hefty sales tax and pretty hefty property taxes, I'm told.)

I wouldn't hold my breath on Florida passing same sex marriage in the near future. They likely won't be last, but darned close to it. My state (AZ) may be in that same category, although local activists seem to think it is "do-able" in the near future.

by TaxTrollEAreply 806/26/2013

Update: Look for the IRS to come out with a (likely) "Announcement" - probably within a month or so - on how the DOMA decision is to be applied for taxes.

The big question is whether they will consider residents of state A (which forbids gay marriage) as legally married if they got married in state B (which does recognize it.) A cold reading of the law would say that the residential state would prevail, and the couple would not be married (but would be married if they moved to B, or any other state where gay marriage isn't outlawed.) This can get incredibly confusing on so many levels, complicated by the fact that states where gay marriage is illegal won't even grant a divorce, which could force the couple to move to a state that does, just to terminate a marriage.

It appears that the non-IRS applications of the DOMA decision - such as immigration - are being interpreted to recognize those who married in any state, even if resident state says no. I have a client couple (one is a citizen of Mexico) who married in NY, live in AZ (which prohibits gay marriage), and their immigration attorney just advised them that their case has been reopened and they are assured he'll get a green card. I've heard similar stories from others.

Clearly, if one government agency is recognizing something like this, the IRS would be hard pressed to say no.

by TaxTrollEAreply 907/03/2013

Not to mention that equality and inequality states are right next to each other. A couple that works in DC but lives in Virginia is married at work, but unmarried at home?! Same with New Jersey/New York etc. What then?

How about a couple where one lives and works in Iowa and the other accepts a temporary assignment in a nearby non-marriage state? Are they technically married or unmarried while one partner is away?!

I'm asking rhetorically to point out all the ridiculous, untenable situations that are bound to lead to legal chaos for gay and lesbian couples. It's clear that the Supreme Court will have to step in and say "Equal means equal" at some point, when the next case gets to them. It's what they should have done this time if they had any nuts. But in the meantime, it's still a half-world for us.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1007/03/2013

The idea of being legally married in some states and not in others is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard of. It's going to be a legal nightmare for gay couples unless the SC strikes down the rest of DOMA within the next two years, which obviously has to happen.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1107/03/2013

[quote] strikes down the rest of DOMA

IMHO it is not the rest of DOMA depriving couples of equality: it is state bans. Given the ruling last week which declared pretty broadly that DOMA was motivated by animus, I'd say that DOMA is pretty much all but unenforceable now. It's actually state bans which are the problem at this point. It is not the enforcement of Section 2 of DOMA which is the problem here imho.

A new case would have to broadly challenge state bans, not DOMA imho. The same reasoning (equal protection) applies to doing away with both. But yeah, the situation is totally ridiculous and unequal at this point, whichever way you spin it.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1207/03/2013

Sec 2 of DOMA (which was NOT invalidated by the SC last week) allows states to ban same-sex marriage. While I agree with R12 that is not the main obstacle remaining, it's presence makes it more difficult to challenge state laws individually. But that will happen, and likely sooner rather than later. A case has already been started in Michigan, I hear.

To the previous poster who wondered, if your spouse travels out of the state for work, does that invalidate your marriage, no ... but anything you do as a couple in that other state is as single people. Then, we you both go back home, you're married.

Kind of opens all sorts of weird scenarios: "I saw you flirting with that cute guy when you went up to buy us drinks! Remember, you're a married man!" "Not in that state, I'm not." Hell, hetero couples will probably complain that THEY don't have that loophole! :)

Just kidding, of course. It will eventually be settled, but the waiting will be a bitch.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1307/03/2013

Yes, I know ... no apostrophe in that "its" in first paragraph. Grammar troll, down! :)

by TaxTrollEAreply 1407/03/2013

[quote]The big question is whether they will consider residents of state A (which forbids gay marriage) as legally married if they got married in state B (which does recognize it.)

Not trying to argue with you about your area of expertise, but given the fact that we've seen the military announce the extension all benefits to legal same-sex spouses no matter the state of residence, as well as the fact that the first same-sex green card sponsor was from Florida despite being married in New York mean that it's likely that the the IRS will be instructed by the Administration to act in a manner consistant with those decisions?

What sorts of forms will we need in order to amend our taxes should this come to pass? And for those, especially in MA who have been married for going on a decade, are they able to go back and amend the most recent seven years, or is it only three?

by TaxTrollEAreply 1507/03/2013

[quote]A case has already been started in Michigan, I hear.

There are several such cases already in progress in several states. Godspeed.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1607/03/2013

I think you're great, TaxTroll, & thank you for performing valuable services on DL. But a couple of points:

[quote] Edith Windsor is a 93+ y/o lady

The NYT says that Edith Windsor is only 83.

[quote]What if you got married in, say, Canada? Also unclear at this point, but it is unlikely that the DOMA decision will provide any relief.

The NY Times also says (at the link in the article) that Windsor & her spouse married in Toronto. So doesn't the holding in that case implicitly apply to Canadian marriages?

by TaxTrollEAreply 1707/03/2013

A couple of questions TaxTrollEA:

1) You mention that it is unknown how marriage in Canada play into this. That's not the case for California residents, right? I know that post-Prop 8 the state of California ruled that our marriages were valid so I would assume then we would now also be married at the federal level.

2) I'm paying imputed income on health insurance as I cover my husband. Should that practice cease immediately? Should the 2013 portion be refunded immediately? Can we go back a couple of years and recover the federal taxes on that imputed income.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1807/03/2013

[quote]1) You mention that it is unknown how marriage in Canada play into this. That's not the case for California residents, right? I know that post-Prop 8 the state of California ruled that our marriages were valid so I would assume then we would now also be married at the federal level.

The point I was making is regarding the states that don't already recognize gay marriage. It's unknown if IRS will recognize a same-sex couple residing in such a state - who married in a different state - as married ... and even less likely they will recognize it if the couple married in Canada rather than any state. Ultimately, I'm sure they'll recognize both, but a cold reading of the decision doesn't really support that as of this minute.

[quote]2) I'm paying imputed income on health insurance as I cover my husband. Should that practice cease immediately? Should the 2013 portion be refunded immediately? Can we go back a couple of years and recover the federal taxes on that imputed income.

If you live in a state that recognizes gay marriage, you should definitely be allowed to exclude the imputed income on your joint (or married filing separately) 2013 returns. As for previous years, that is something that the IRS will have to decide. Obviously, the paperwork involved for the employer will be pretty complicated, so I would guess the IRS won't be too quick to do that. But would a court challenge to get the money back prevail? I'd say that would be likely.

by TaxTrollEAreply 1907/03/2013

The Voice of the Night has spoken :)

[quote] ... given the fact that we've seen the military announce the extension all benefits to legal same-sex spouses no matter the state of residence, as well as the fact that the first same-sex green card sponsor was from Florida despite being married in New York mean that it's likely that the the IRS will be instructed by the Administration to act in a manner consistant with those decisions?

Look at the last two paragraphs of my R9 above. I agree with you, that it is inevitable. But it isn't a sure thing, yet.

{quote]What sorts of forms will we need in order to amend our taxes should this come to pass? And for those, especially in MA who have been married for going on a decade, are they able to go back and amend the most recent seven years, or is it only three?

Once the IRS gives the OK to do so, you can go back and amend any return that was due less than three years ago (So, the 2010 can be amended until 4/15/2014.) If your 2009 was filed on extension, say in early Oct 2010, then you might have that year available as well.

Tax experts are suggesting that, IF the IRS doesn't come up with guidance on this within the period I mentioned above, you might file an amended return anyway, mark it PROTECTIVE CLAIM, and expect it will be rejected. But it starts another statute (I believe it is two more years) running to make corrections to it. Personally, I don't think this will be necessary, as the IRS will likely rule on this within a month or so.

Be aware that, in many cases, filing MFJ will actually INCREASE YOUR COMBINED TAX. This is more likely to be the scenario of both of you work and make good money, and one of you has more deductions than the other. But a joint return may result in a lower tax, if one of you makes considerably less income than the other. Be careful on things like IRA deduction limits, credits, taxability of Soc Sec benefits, etc., which are VERY different on married returns. (What if you are better off keeping the separate single returns for past years? Not definite yet, but very unlikely you will be required to change to married for PAST years. Only 2013 (and 2012, if still on extension) and future.

To amend, you would use IRS Form 1040X to amend your return. You'll also need any other forms or schedules that would have been required on the original joint return, such as Sch A, Sch D, etc. I'd also strongly suggest you attach a 3-column schedule showing the separate income and deduction info, as reported on the original returns, then adding them together for a third column as it appears on the amended return. Obviously, you need to follow the MFJ rates. Don't forget your state return, which may have to be amended as well if you did not file MFJ.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2007/03/2013

Well, in my case, I was/am a full time student, so I can't see how MFJ would increase our tax load, but if I'm wrong about that, I'd be grateful for the correction.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2107/03/2013

[quote]Well, in my case, I was/am a full time student, so I can't see how MFJ would increase our tax load, but if I'm wrong about that, I'd be grateful for the correction.

Being a student really doesn't have anything to do with it. But if you are saying you had little/no income because of school, then yes, likely MFJ will be a lower tax. (And don't forget to try for the education tax credit, which is easier to qualify for on a MFJ return.)

by TaxTrollEAreply 2207/03/2013

Article in today's LA Times about the uncertainty about tax implications of the DOMA decision. Last paragraph suggests that IRS guidance will be given within "days or weeks" rather than a longer period.

I have several clients on extension that I will hold off on completing until this is finalized. They married in CA or MA (in one case, Canada), but live in a state (AZ or TX) that specifically bans gay marriage. Article suggests that the guidance will verify that someone legally married in ANY state is legally married in ALL states, whether or not the state recognizes it for now. Therefore, in the case of AZ, they would have to file as a married couple on federal, but single on AZ (until the ban is repealed).

I have one couple who legally married in CA, but live in AZ and have split up. They never bothered to get a divorce, since the marriage was a non-issue in AZ or on the federal level ... until now. If the guidance suggested comes through, they will have to file as a married couple (jointly or -more likely- as Married Filing Separately). Ordinarily, since AZ is a community property state, they'd have to allocate total income and deductions between their two returns, but - since they didn't live together for any part of 2012 - AZ community property laws allow them to elect to ignore such allocations. (Caution: Each state varies a bit on when "the marital community" doesn't apply.)

Just when you thought this shit couldn't get any more complicated ...

by TaxTrollEAreply 2307/08/2013

[quote]And don't forget to try for the education tax credit, which is easier to qualify for on a MFJ return.

Already pulled to 1089-Ts (that's what the forms are called, right?) for 2011 and 2012 just in case.

I hope we find out soon.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2407/08/2013

[quote]Be aware that, in many cases, filing MFJ will actually INCREASE YOUR COMBINED TAX. This is more likely to be the scenario of both of you work and make good money, and one of you has more deductions than the other. But a joint return may result in a lower tax, if one of you makes considerably less income than the other. Be careful on things like IRA deduction limits, credits, taxability of Soc Sec benefits, etc., which are VERY different on married returns. (What if you are better off keeping the separate single returns for past years? Not definite yet, but very unlikely you will be required to change to married for PAST years. Only 2013 (and 2012, if still on extension) and future.

I'm glad you brought up the issue of a joint return resulting in higher taxes. I brought this up on one of the other threads and was castigated as a spoilsport. Many people still think of MFJ as being a benefit are remembering the days whenone spouse had substantially more income than the other. Those days are, for the most part, long gone. MFJ allowed you to, in effect, split your combined income among two people. MFJ rarely is beneficial (vs. two returns filed as "single") when both spouses receive decent amounts of income.

The problem I foresee is that some gay couples are going to try to have it both ways when they find out that filing jointly doesn't help them. As far as the IRS is concerned, you're either married or you're not -- there's no in-between. So it's something to consider. (You don't have to file jointly, but Married, Filing Separately is always bad, and it is useless in a community property state.) I know straight couples who decided not to get married (or delayed their marriages) for just this reason.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2507/08/2013

Lots of people are under the misconception that the so-called "marriage penalty" was repealed by the 2003 tax act. While the inequity was greatly reduced by that legislation, which essentially aligned most brackets and rates for marrieds to twice that of single people, there is still a higher tax involved for many married couples, due to interaction of things like Social Security benefits, credits, etc., as well as lack of flexibility (Even if they file separately, if one itemizes deductions, the other must also. If unmarried, the other would simply claim the standard deduction, which might be higher than his separate deductions.)

And higher income couples still have a rate disparity that makes them pay more if married ... see the link below.

And it is not completely out of the question that the 2003 reforms might be repealed at some point, by an ignorant Congress looking to increase tax revenue (Letting previous legislation expire is a lot less risky - for an official facing re-election - than actually raising tax rates.) The pre-2003 law essentially provided a tax break to married couples as they existed 50-60 years ago, with one spouse earning the money and the other staying home to raise the kids. The rates gave a break to them from what a single person would pay on the same total income, but not if two single people were earning it.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2607/08/2013

Update: IRS is expected to release guidance sometime in August on the tax implications of the DOMA decision, specifically how it would apply to a couple married in another state but who live in a state that does not recognize gay marriage.

It should be pointed out that, in actions thus far, the feds have accepted a marriage in ANY state as valid for purposes of immigration or veterans benefits for same-sex couples. It would be highly unusual, and obviously prone to legal challenges, if they ruled otherwise on taxes.

I've read input from dozens of "tax experts" on this subject, and a slight majority believes that the IRS will recognize any marriage in any state, even if couple doesn't live in a state allowing gay marriage there. (Obviously, their ruling would affect federal returns, but probably not state returns in those states.)

Meanwhile, several states (including Michigan and my state of Arizona) have started movements to repeal their state prohibition against same sex marriage. Early returns are encouraging, but far from a sure thing.

Stay tuned for new developments.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2707/18/2013

Thanks, TTEA. I'm half of a couple married in CA in '08, pre-Prop 8, but we live in a southern state that won't recognize same sex marriage until every state has to. Consequently, this IRS announcement will directly impact us.

Though we're legally married, we've (obviously) had to file separate returns as single. We divide our mortgage interest deduction between us. A few weeks ago, my partner/husband got a notice from the IRS saying they were going to disallow his mortgage interest deduction and wanted him to pay an additional $1000 in taxes. He had to send in another copy of our 1098 from the lender showing we're both listed on the loan, plus a copy of my schedule A showing that between us, we claimed the correct total amount of interest we paid that year. It brought home the fact that we wouldn't have to deal with this bullshit if it wasn't for DOMA precluding us the past 5 years from accurately filing returns as a married couple. So I hope the IRS agrees to accept our marriage despite our current state of residence.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2807/18/2013

[quote] We divide our mortgage interest deduction between us. A few weeks ago, my partner/husband got a notice from the IRS saying they were going to disallow his mortgage interest deduction and wanted him to pay an additional $1000 in taxes. He had to send in another copy of our 1098 from the lender showing we're both listed on the loan, plus a copy of my schedule A showing that between us, we claimed the correct total amount of interest we paid that year.

You likely could have avoided that happening, if you were careful the way you filled out Schedule A. Note that there are two lines for home mortgage interest: one for interest SHOWN on Form 1098, one for interest that is not (which requires you provide lender info.) Likely you listed both as interest shown on 1098, but keep in mind it only goes to the IRS under the ONE Social Security number shown on that form. The other should have reported his share as interest not reported on 1098.

[quote] It brought home the fact that we wouldn't have to deal with this bullshit if it wasn't for DOMA

True, but consider that you will be losing a potential valuable way to do tax planning. With my couple clients, I recommend that they have the one who makes more money (in a higher tax bracket) pay all deductible items, including 100% of the mortgage payments, and claim the related deductions in full (Partner claims the standard deduction, and can pay an equal amount of non-deductible items, such as utilities, groceries, vacations, etc.) That almost always results in a lower COMBINED tax savings than splitting deductions 50-50. Unfortunately, that isn't an option for a Married filing separately return, even if you are not in a community property state.

by TaxTrollEAreply 2907/18/2013

thanks tax troll!

by TaxTrollEAreply 3007/18/2013

Good info at R29, thanks. But hey, blame my CPA for the way schedule A was completed. ;-) We'll definitely take your advice for 2013.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3107/18/2013

I'm wondering what effect this will have on Social Security? My partner & I live in NYC but are not married. We both will be retiring at the end of the year and will apply for our Social Security benefits. Are there any advantages to our being married before we do this?

TIA

by TaxTrollEAreply 3207/18/2013

R32, I'd go right to the social security website and look into it if I were you.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3307/18/2013

[quote]But hey, blame my CPA for the way schedule A was completed

Unless he/she is used to doing returns for unmarried couples who own a home together, this is a common thing tax preparers overlook. Obviously, with a married couple filing jointly, it would not matter, so they're not used to having to differentiate between the primary SS# and the co-borrower.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3407/18/2013

[quote]if it wasn't for DOMA precluding us the past 5 years from accurately filing returns as a married couple.

Well, DEPENDING on exactly how the IRS says this is to be handled for gay married couples in states that don't recognize the marriage, you may be able to amend 2012, 2011 and 2010, and change to married filing jointly. Suggest you make sure you have your copies of your original separate returns for those years, just in case. You can amend 2010 until April 15, 2014 (Years before 2010 are already closed, and cannot be amended.)

As we have said before, filing jointly may or MAY NOT provide a tax benefit. Obviously, your tax preparer should do a preliminary calculation to see if this makes sense, before actually preparing the returns.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3507/18/2013

R32, considering you are in a state that accepts gay marriage, this is something you should consider.

On the plus side, your Social Security benefit payout will be somewhat connected, and you'll be entitled to survivor benefits. Assuming you both have wills, it will be far more difficult for anyone to challenge them, if you're married.

Then again, you'd have to look at your estate planning as a whole, since marriage may suggest some significant changes from the previous way you had it set up.

by TaxTrollEAreply 3607/18/2013

Question you didn't ask, but just in case anyone is wondering ...

[quote]If I married my partner in Oct 2012 in NY, where both of us live, can we amend our 2012 returns to file jointly? Or do we have to wait until we're married for a full calendar year?

For tax purposes, your marital status is determined as of December 31st. So, if you were married as of that date in 2012, you can file as married for 2012.

(FYI, this part of tax law opens up an opportunity that will complicate things, if the IRS concludes they won't recognize a couple as married if they live in a "no gay marriage" state. I have a client-couple who move from state to state, usually every 10-25 months. They're married in MA, but living in AZ, a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage. Since he has a lot of say in where he gets sent next, he could simply make sure they both establish residence in a "gay marriage is OK" state every December 31st. It's crazy, but could work. :)

by TaxTrollEAreply 3707/18/2013
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