Essential Tax Tips for Same-Sex Couples


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The last thing you may want to think about is your taxes, but after the 2015 Supreme Court vote ruling marriage equality in all states, you may be embarking on a new filing experience together.

In 2013, the IRS began recognizing marriages between same-sex spouses if they were valid under state law where the marriage took place. Since 2015, same-sex marriages were legalized in all states. That means that same-sex marriages are subject to the same tax rules as all other marriages in all states.

Now same-sex spouses, like all other married people, must file using a married filing jointly or separately filing status and can reap the same tax benefits as heterosexual married couples. One of the biggest benefits for same-sex married couples that live in states that didn’t recognize same-sex marriage is legally married same-sex couples can now simplify the tax preparation process filing one federal and one state tax return and take advantage of tax benefits reserved for married couples.

Married filing jointly and lower tax rates

Because there are lower federal tax rates for couples who file married filing jointly compared to filing as single, most married couples will see tax savings or a “marriage bonus”. But at higher income tax levels, a difference begins to emerge between unmarried individuals filing as single and married couples filing jointly. If both parties have similar high income, they may owe more tax. If their incomes are widely different, they may owe less.

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