December 18, 2012
Janis Cowhey, Tax & Business Services Partner, Quoted in The Washington Times Article "Franchot: Md. Married Gays Can't File Taxes Jointly"
By David Hill
Maryland's same-sex couples will soon be allowed to marry, but they won't be allowed to file joint income-tax returns - making Maryland the first state to legalize gay marriage without giving extra tax privileges to the couples.
The state comptroller's office says it plans to continue requiring same-sex couples to file separate state-level income-tax returns as long as federal law requires separate federal returns, even though all other states recognizing same-sex marriage that collect income tax allow the couples to file jointly.
Maryland officials say they have no immediate plans to change the state's policy, even though they acknowledge that separate returns have added to paperwork for same-sex couples and sometimes force them to pay higher taxes.
Janis McDonagh, a partner at New York-based accounting and advisory firm Marcum LLP, said she expects that Maryland will change its policy to one similar to those in other gay-marriage states. Marcum has a branch of its practice specifically addressing financial issues in the gay community.
She also questioned the legality of the state recognizing gay couples as married but allowing, much less requiring, them to file taxes as though they are single.
"If you're married in the state, I don’t see how you could file a single tax return," she said. "As a tax attorney, I can't imagine how they would come to a different conclusion."