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4 Things Same-Sex Couples Should Know Before Filing State Taxes
December 3, 2016
While same-sex couples have been required to file federal tax returns as married, even if they lived in states that didn’t recognize gay marriage, that didn’t apply to state tax returns until recently. Many states that didn’t recognize gay marriage required same-sex couples to file as single or head of household on their state tax returns.
With the change in filing requirements to recognize same-sex marriages, here are four things you need to know:
You’ll need to determine which filing status is best. As a married couple, you can now file as “Married filing jointly” or “Married filing separately.” A number of things, such as income disparity, tax brackets, and more, will factor into determining which filing offers the lowest tax liability. A tax calculator can give you a good idea to get started.
Filing status is determined on the last day of the year. Under federal law, if you married on Dec. 31, then you’re considered married for the whole year (the same is true if you get divorced on Dec. 31) and this also applies to the state filing. However, civil unions and domestic partnerships are not considered marriage.
You can request a refund if your marriage wasn’t previously recognized. If you live in a state that didn’t recognize same-sex marriage prior to 2015, you can file amended returns to obtain a refund if you think you overpaid on previous state income taxes.
You may want to ask a professional. Things still vary some from state-to-state, but a professional can help you get up to speed on how to file jointly as a married couple, how to request a refund (because each state has different requirements), or even how marrying can affect your income tax.
As always, if you have any questions, it’s best to speak with a tax advisor who can give you direct advice based on your specific situation.