Essential Tax Information for Same-Sex Married Couples

Same-sex couples can now enjoy a number of tax privileges that comes with marriage. Married same sex couples should be aware of the new changes when it comes to filing their taxes.

  1. A same-sex married couple is considered married for federal tax purposes even in a domestic or foreign jurisdiction that does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.
  2. A same-sex married couple can file joint tax returns and claim various tax benefits that married couples enjoy even if they reside in a state that does not recognize their marriage.
  3. For tax year 2013 and onward, a same sex married couple must file returns either separately, but claiming married status or jointly. They can no longer file tax returns using single status.
  4. For tax year 2012 and back, a same-sex married couple can file an original tax return on or after Sept. 16, 2013 using a married filing separately or jointly filing status.
  5. A same-sex married couple can also amend their tax returns if they were filed before Sept. 16, 2013, and file them using married filing separately or jointly filing. Taxpayers must check the expiry of the period of limitations for amending a return before amending their previous years’ tax returns.

However, a child of a same-sex spouse qualifying under section 152(c) where the parents file as married filing separately may claim a dependency deduction. Only one parent can claim the deduction.

Same-sex couples can now enjoy various tax benefits, including tax deductions and credits where marriage is a factor. These include filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.