Same Sex Marriages and Taxes

How do same sex marriages and taxes work? The IRS website states, "For tax year 2013 and going forward, same-sex spouses generally must file using a married filing separately or jointly filing status. For tax year 2012 and all prior years, same-sex spouses who file an original tax return on or after September 16, 2013, generally must file using a married filing separately or jointly filing status. For tax year 2012, same-sex spouses who filed their tax return before September 16, 2013, may choose (but are not required) to amend their federal tax returns to file using married filing separately or jointly filing status. For tax years 2011 and earlier, same-sex spouses who filed their tax returns timely may choose (but are not required) to amend their federal tax returns to file using married filing separately or jointly filing status provided the period of limitations for amending the return has not expired. A taxpayer generally may file a claim for refund for three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later."

 What does this really mean? Two important things:

(1) You can now file your taxes jointly which you will likely see some benefit from doing

 (2) If you did not file together in years prior to the ruling, you have the choice to go back and amend your tax return if you were lawfully married during that time. There is a time limitation as stated above, so if you are considering amending the prior years to claim a refund, you would want to do this as soon as possible.

What about states and tax filings? North Carolina now recognizes same sex marriages, but what if you live in a state that does not? For federal purposes, you could still file jointly. For states, you would want to check in to your specific state rules and regulations.

If you have questions on the filing of your tax returns, please feel free to contact us.