Ever since the Supreme Court struck down key provisions of DOMA (The Defense of Marriage Act) earlier this year there has been some confusion in regards to tax treatment of same sex couples. Since Federal recognition of marriage is based on individual state law would someone have to reside in a state that legalized same sex marriage in order to file as married? What if they moved to a state that didn’t allow same-sex marriage, would that mean that for some or all Federal purposes they weren’t married?
Last week the Treasury Department clarified this with a ruling that cleared the air. Once legally married, same-sex couples could live in any state and enjoy all the Federal benefits of marriage. Logical we know but tax law doesn’t always follow the rules of logic!
The upshot is that couples who are legally married will have to file as such, either jointly or separately. In addition there may be the opportunity to amend prior returns if the marriage occurred some time ago, although as we understand it this isn’t required. There might certainly be some opportunities in this regard if amending the returns would be advantageous.
Finally Kay Bell has a great article here that talks about some of the simple and not-so-simple items to consider for those couples who are new to the intricacies of married filing of tax returns.