April 11, 2015
David Glusman, Advisory Services Partner, Featured in The Huffington Post Article, "Here Are 11 LGBT Tax Planning Tips, Courtesy of Marcum's David Glusman."
By Curtis M. Wong
Whether you're ahead of the game or procrastinate until the last minute, filing your income taxes is rarely a gratifying experience, even in the best of circumstances.
The mere mention of April 15 may be enough to prompt visions of gloom and doom in even the most tenacious of individuals, but there are still a handful of ways for everyone to make Tax Day a bit less irksome.
With just days to go before the deadline, The Huffington Post spoke to David Glusman, an advisory services partner at Marcum and a member of the firm's LGBT and Non-Traditional Family Practice Group, who shared his thoughts on the best tax planning tips for same-sex couples.
Married Tax Status
If you are legally married, determine if there is any benefit to amending previously filed income tax returns using the "married" status. Married tax status as compared to single or head of household status could result in a lower joint tax liability because of the netting of income and deductions, eligibility for certain tax credits, and income exclusions. It could also result in an increased tax liability due to the marriage penalty tax or because of limitations on deductions based on combined adjusted gross income. File amended returns as soon as possible; don’t wait until April 15. Amended returns must be filed before the Statute of Limitations runs -- generally three years from the filing of the original return or two years from when the tax was paid, whichever is later. Recent court decisions have significantly expanded the number of states allowing same-sex marriage or recognizing such marriages performed in other states, leading to tens of thousands of additional couples who will need to review their options.
Non-Taxable Fringe Benefits
Consider amending income tax returns to exclude previous taxable income which was used to purchase job-related benefits for your spouse, such as health insurance, life insurance, and other benefits. Employers may be entitled to a refund of matching FICA payments on benefits that are now non-taxable. The Statute of Limitations for refund claims also applies. In spite of the federal court rulings, many employers have not properly adjusted their benefit and payroll systems to account for this change. Individuals should take the opportunity to carefully review their W-2 forms to confirm that no taxable income is improperly being added for spousal benefits. Also make sure you have advised your Human Resources Department of your marital status and provided them with a copy of your marriage certificate.
Employer Spousal Benefits
Save current tax dollars by contacting your company's Human Resources Department for a list of marital benefits available. Take advantage of all non-taxable benefits available to your spouse. Also look for a benefit that may pay you a buy-back amount if you no longer need employer-paid benefits (because you are now covered under your spouse's plan). Like #2 above, some employers have not properly updated their systems; so a call or visit to HR may be warranted.