February 27, 2014
Janis Cowhey, Tax & Business Services Partner, Featured in Business Insider Article, "Married Same-Sex Couples Get New Tax Breaks."
By Lydia Dallet
For the first time ever, married same-sex couples will be required to file federal income taxes as married, either jointly or separately, and will have the opportunity to amend their last three returns using a married filing status. For some unions, this could mean a nice refund.
After the Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act last June, the IRS announced that it would recognize all legally married same-sex couples for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state they reside in recognizes their marriage.
It's a big victory for advocates of same-sex marriage, writes Tara Siegel Bernard at the New York Times, but it also raises new questions, like: When does it make sense to amend your returns?
Bernard spoke with Janis Cowhey McDonagh, a partner at New York accounting firm Marcum. McDonagh says that, as with straight couples, amending returns makes sense if you and your partner qualify for a marriage bonus, earned when one partner stays home or makes significantly less than the other.
On the other hand, "higher-income couples with two working spouses making similar incomes are likely to face a marriage penalty" if the dual incomes push the couple into a higher tax bracket, she says.