After the Party: How Saying “I Do” Affects Your Taxes
Hundreds of GLBT couples have tied the knot in Minnesota since our state legalized same-sex marriages on Aug. 1. Many other same-sex Minnesotan couples had previously wed in other states or countries. If you’re among those newlyweds—or plan to join them—congratulations!
Having the freedom to marry who we love has far greater significance (and consequence) than financial matters and household budgeting. But, like all married couples, you’ll return from your honeymoon to a host of mundane details and responsibilities—including how your marital bliss affects your state (and federal) taxes. The short answer: Just the same as any other married couple in Minnesota.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages and provide the same benefits that other married couples receive. Two months later, the IRS issued a ruling on how to implement the Supreme Court decision at the federal level.
The IRS now recognizes all legal same-sex marriages for tax purposes. This includes couples who now live in states that don’t recognize their marriages. Couples who wed before this year can – but don’t have to – file an amended federal return as married for previous “open” years (usually the three preceding years).
The IRS ruling paved the way for the Minnesota Department of Revenue to provide information on filing state tax returns. Same-sex married couples will be treated the same as all other married couples in Minnesota. This equality extends to how you file your taxes for 2013 and beyond.
These changes can affect any or all of the calculations on your tax return that relate to your filing status as a married couple. Some examples include:
- If you’re married, you must file as “married filing joint” (if you file one return with your spouse) or “married filing separate” (if you each file your own return). You must use the same filing status on your Minnesota and federal returns.
- If you amend your federal tax return for a previous year, you must also amend your Minnesota return for that year, with the same filing status.
- If you take the personal and dependent exemption – or the standard deduction – on your federal return, you must do the same on your state return. If you file separate returns, you must both take the standard deduction or both take itemized deductions.
- If you claim the earned income tax credit or child tax credit, you must use the same filing status and other information as on your state and federal tax returns.
- Employee benefits that you get for, or from, your spouse are treated the same for tax purposes as they would be for any married couple.
- When making contributions to an IRA, you’re subject to the same limits as other married couples.
Each couple’s tax situation is unique, so you may want to consult a tax professional for advice and instructions on how to file or amend your tax returns.
What’s in a name? Under the IRS ruling and under Minnesota law, the term “marriage” does not include registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or other similar formal relationships recognized under state law, whether between same-sex or opposite-sex individuals.
Other states: If you live or file an income tax return in another state that doesn’t recognize your marriage, you may have to file that state’s return as “single” or “head-of-household.” Check that state’s laws for more information.
Minnesota Department of Revenue
Minnesota Tax Information for Same-Sex Married Couples
Same-Sex Marriage Information for Individual Taxpayers
Same-Sex Marriage Information for Employers
Internal Revenue Service
IRS FAQs for Same Sex Married Couples
IRS FAQs for Registered Domestic Partners and Individuals in Civil Union
The Minnesota Department of Revenue provided information for this article. Find more at www.revenue.state.mn.us