January 30, 2015
Portia Rose, Tax & Business Services Manager, Featured in NerdWallet Article, "Gay and Newly Married? You Need This Tax Guide."
With 36 states now legalizing same-sex marriage, many newly wedded gay and lesbian couples will be filing joint tax returns for the first time this year. For some, it could mean being bumped to a higher tax bracket or getting a bigger refund. For those who live or work in states that don't recognize gay marriage, it could mean filling out multiple returns.
Don't get caught off guard this tax season by higher tax rates or benefits you didn't know were available to you. The sooner you know what to expect, the quicker you can get help from a tax expert if you need it as well as get your deductions and credits.
Amending past returns may save you money
If you got married before the Internal Revenue Service announced in 2013 that it would start recognizing all same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes, you can still amend previous returns. Fill out a Form 843 to get a refund on gift taxes and estate taxes and a Form 1040X to amend income tax returns.
"Taxpayers are under no obligation to file amended returns, but a review is worthwhile to see if a different filing status might result in a refund of taxes paid," says Portia Rose, a CPA at Marcum LLP, a top national accounting and advisory firm that offers specialized tax services for LGBT couples and other nontraditional families.
If you're unsure whether amending would save you money, ask a credentialed tax expert to help you weigh factors such as tax refunds on a partner's health care, child tax credits and gift taxes. You can also do a free estimate of your amended return on the do-it-yourself tax site TurboTax.
For now, paying taxes for same-sex couples can be a headache, but Rose says things are quickly changing.
"I look forward to the time when every state in the union will recognize same-sex marriages and make our lives easier," she says.