Don't get bogged down in federal and state tax confusion. Here's what gays, lesbians and same-sex couples need to know before filing federal and state taxes:
Can gay and lesbian couples file joint federal taxes?
The Defense of Marriage Act
, signed into federal law in 1996, defines marriage as between one man and one woman, prohibiting federal recognition of same-sex couples in all federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service. Therefore, same-sex couples must fill individual federal tax returns even if their state allows joint filing.
I live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage. Can my husband or wife and I file joint state taxes?
In states where same-sex marriage is legal
, gay and lesbian couples can file joint state taxes. However, each partner must still file individual federal returns for the reasons mentioned above.
My state offers civil unions or domestic partnerships. Can we file jointly?
Most civil union and domestic partnership laws offer some rights of marriage
, but fall short at tax benefits for same-sex couples. Jump to this summary of tax filing rules
in civil union and domestic partnership states.
Avoid filing errors by consulting a tax professional.