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Same-Sex Couples and Filing Taxes

Same-Sex Couples and Filing Taxes

Legally Married According to the IRS

The IRS considers a same-sex couple based on the legality of the state or country they were married in not where they reside.  If you were married in a country or state that recognizes same-sex marriage then as far as the Internal Revenue Service is concerned you have the same rights as a heterosexual couple

Married Filing Jointly or Separately

Same-sex married couples can file their taxes as married filing jointly or married filing separately.  This rule has been in effect since 2013.  It does not matter whether you live in a state that recognizes your marriage.  From 2013 and on same-sex spouses must use the filing status of married filing separately or jointly.  For 2012, same-sex couples who filed their tax return before September 16, 2013, may file an amended return (at their discretion).  For tax years 2011 and prior, same-sex couples may choose to file amended tax returns as long as the period of limitations for filing amended tax returns has not expired.

Claim Your Refund

Usually, a taxpayer may claim a refund for three years from the date the date the tax return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid.  Whichever was later.

Dependent Status/Head of Household

A same-sex spouse cannot be a dependent or file as head of household.  If a child is a qualifying child of both parents who are filing as married filing separately, the parent with the highest adjusted gross should claim the child as long as the child lives with both parents.  If you live away from your spouse 6 months of the year and provide one half of the cost of maintaining the household you may file as unmarried head of household.

Standard Deduction

A taxpayer can not claim the standardized deductions if they are married filing separately and their spouse itemizes.  This rule applies to all married couples.

Health Insurance

If the statute of limitations is still open for filing for a refund and an employer-provided health coverage for your spouse and included the value of the coverage in your gross income.  The employee with the insurance included gross income can file an amended 1040 reflecting your status as married to recover the federal tax paid on the value of coverage that would have been excluded had the employee’s spouse been recognized as the employee’s legal spouse.  The claim for refund would be made through the filing of an amended 1040.

Social Security and Medicare

You may also be entitled to refunds of Social Security, Medicare tax, Federal Unemployment Tax and more.  For more information, or for assistance filing amended returns contact us at 561-293-3135 or email the author  Visit us at

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