How Tax Day Works for Same Sex Married Couples

In June of 2015, same sex couples were granted the right to marry by the Supreme Court of the United States. This historic moment comes complete with a lot of questions about taxes. Previously, same sex couples paid separate federal income taxes. Some same sex married partners were able to pay their state taxes together. Others had to submit separate taxes for both fedeMarriageEqualityral and state. This year, all of the rules have changed for same sex couples and tax day.

Same Sex Married Couples Can File Together Everywhere

The Supreme Court decision cemented gays and lesbians gaining the same rights of partnership as opposite sex couples. This means same sex couples may file federal and state taxes jointly if they choose. That is, married filing jointly and married filing separately may be used by the couple.

Taxes May Be Decreased

By being able to claim a spouse, same sex couples are likely to be able to hold on to a bit more of their income. Some couples may also be assessed at a higher tax bracket depending on the addition of a spouse’s income. Speak to an accountant to determine if filing jointly is a good idea.

State taxes are also Filed Jointly

Previously, there were a number of states in the union which banned same sex marriages. Today, all married couples can file their state income taxes together. Additionally, if you have not yet filed 2014 taxes, you may file jointly with your spouse. You are permitted to use your married status for late 2014 taxes, even though the tax season came before the Supreme Court decision.

Image credit: Bloody Marty

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johnAbout john
Seattle CPA+John Huddleston has written extensively on tax related subjects of interest to small business owners. He is a graduate of Washington State University and the University of Washington School of Law.

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