Married Same Sex Couples Gain Equal Tax Benefits

Tax Act

Married Same Sex Couples

Regardless of which state that they live in, all lawfully married gay couples can now file back taxes in the United States and can obtain the same tax benefits that married heterosexual couples receive. This means that whether a married gay couples lives in a state that recognizes gay marriage or one that does not, the marriage tax benefits applies nationally. This is because of the invalidation of an important part of the Defense of Marriage Act federal law of 1996 on June 26.

This act had previously recognized marriages only between a man and a woman. The invalidation of the act now provides for definiteness for gay couples that want to file back taxes and gives them access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax laws. The implication of this ruling is that same sex couples in states that do not recognize same sex might move to states such as New York where same sex marriage is legally permitted.

The ability of gay couples to file back taxes goes back to the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years and such couples can seek tax refunds by filling amended tax returns. Filling tax returns will change their tax status because couples can choose to file taxes as married filing jointly or married filing separately. But the change is also both positive and negative because it has benefits as well as penalties.

The positive side of the ruling is that spouses that are legally married will be exempted from federal state tax. A gay couple that is in a certain income bracket may get charged with the marriage penalty tax that heterosexual couples are usually faced with. Same sex couples will receive the file back taxes benefits as long as they are married without regard to where they reside.


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