After the U.S. Supreme Court nullified part of the Defense of Marriage Act this past summer, the IRS began issuing guidance on provisions in federal tax law affected by marital status. That means if you’re part of a legally married same-sex couple, your federal tax situation now includes filing requirements you may be unfamiliar with. Here are two issues to consider.
Your 2013 tax return
No matter where you currently live, if you were married in 2013 in a state that considers same-sex marriage legal, your filing status for your 2013 federal income tax return will generally be “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”
What if you celebrate other state-recognized formal relationships, such as registered domestic partnerships and civil unions instead of formal marriage? In that case, you’re not considered married for your federal return, though you may be able to file a joint state tax return.
Prior-year tax returns
If you were legally married prior to September 16, 2013, you can choose to amend prior-year federal Forms 1040 that you originally filed as single. In addition to potential reduction in tax from switching to the status of married filing jointly, you might also be able to claim a refund of income tax paid on certain employee benefits. For example, your W-2 wages may have included the fair market value of health coverage for your partner.
Filing an amended return can result in a refund of the tax due on that amount. Reviewing already-filed estate and gift tax returns is also a good idea, as you may be able to amend them to make tax-saving elections such as splitting gifts or carrying forward the unused portion of your spouse’s estate tax exclusion.
Please give us a call to set up a tax review. We’ll help you sort out the changes.