June 29, 2015
Janis Cowhey, Modern Family & LGBT Services Group Co-Leader, Featured in NPR Article, "The Economic Reality Of The Same-Sex Marriage Ruling."
By Charles Lane
At Pride events in New York City this weekend, the emotional excitement about marriage equality was evident. But many people also were thrilled about the practical considerations.
Colleen Mahoney and her wife Michelle Conklin are New York residents who joined in the celebrations that marked the Supreme Court's ruling. They now have a marriage that is recognized in all 50 states, and they say that will make it easier to take job transfers or retire anywhere.
Taxes are another big change.
Janis Cowhey is an accountant for Marcum LLP, a firm that specializes in advising wealthy LGBT clients. She says some same-sex couples living in the 13 states that didn't recognize same-sex marriage would have to file as many as six different tax returns; that included dummy returns just to get numbers for the real returns.
"People who have income from those 13 states, it's a huge change," she says. "It means you just file a married tax return at the federal level and then you file your state returns. It's not this bifurcated system where you've got one filing status for federal purposes and a totally different one for state purposes."
Cowhey says gay couples no longer have to wonder about who's their next of kin or in which state to file for Social Security benefits.