DOMA-Same Sex Marriage Feed

As the Internal Revenue Service explores a future that will make more of its customer services digital, it is getting support from an advisory committee. The Electronic Tax Administration Advisory Committee (ETAAC) issued its annual report last week, recommending that the IRS expand its electronic filing efforts and digital strategy. ETAAC also suggests the IRS expand expanded electronic filing of more tax returns, particularly employment taxes. That business tax segment is dramatically lagging in electronic filing participation. The report points out that in 2016 the IRS exceeded, for the fifth straight year, its 80 percent electronic filing goal for individual... Read more →


"Millions flee Georgia for the safety of North Carolina's bathrooms," quipped New Yorker columnist Andy Borowitz after the Tar Heel State's governor signed into a law a measure that, among other things, revokes local protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. The part of the bill that's gotten most attention is, as Borowitz notes, the one that requires transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding with the gender they were born with rather than the one they identify with. North Carolina is the first state to require this. Last year, Houston, Texas, passed a similar law for facilities... Read more →


It's national Spouse's Day. Yes, apparently this is a real day, real in the sense that somebody came up with the idea and managed to get the word out there enough that it's generating some attention. I don't know how I've missed this holiday in previous years, being such a perfect wife to a great husband, but I discovered it today. Thanks Twitter #SpousesDay. And given that this is the first year that all married couples, regardless of gender and in every state, will be filing joint tax returns, it seems like a perfect day to remind folks of their... Read more →


You can't blame tax cheats if one of Martha and the Vandellas' biggest hits has been playing on a loop in their heads of late. Thanks to a new global effort, tax evaders will have nowhere to run to, nowhere to hide. Click image to view Martha and the Vandellas YouTube video. Crossing borders to chase down tax cheats: Tax Inspectors Without Borders, or TIWB, is a new initiative from the United Nations (UN) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Its goal, is as its name indicates, is to send trained tax professionals from richer OECD nations... Read more →


Any time there's a big event, it's always followed by clean-up tasks. That's true for all the wedding celebrations held after the Supreme Court's granting of nationwide marriage equality in its June 26 Obergefell v. Hodges decision. It's also true of the tax laws that now apply to all the new same-sex newlyweds. Specifically, the Internal Revenue Code, officially known as Title 26 of the U.S. Code, needs a major search-and-replace so that references to "husband and wife" become "spouses." You can peruse the tax code at either the Government Publishing Office's 3,837-pages PDF document or the House of Representative's... Read more →


In an historic 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that all couples, regardless of gender, have the right to be married in all 50 states. Marriage equality advocates celebrate the Supreme Court ruling that all 50 states must allow and recognized same-sex marriages. (Photo courtesy Human Rights Campaign) The victory for marriage equality advocates was expected, given the number of lower courts that have ruled that way and the dramatic shift in public support for same-sex marriages. However, no one wanted to get out ahead of this Supreme Court, which has had a habit of issuing decisions, read... Read more →


June 26 could be the day that marriage equality officially arrives in the United States. The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to hand down its ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges either today or Monday, June 29. Supporters of same-sex marriage rallied outside the Supreme Court in April when oral arguments were presented. Photo courtesy Human Rights Campaign video via YouTube. The case actually is a consolidation of four same-sex marriage federal lawsuits, one each from Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan. But the ramifications of the high court's ruling ultimately will affect all 50 states. The imminent decision is the culmination... Read more →


My fellow Texan Kinky Friedman, as well-known for his often outrageous comments and political dalliances as for his writings and music, declared his support for marriage equality because same-sex couples "have a right to be as miserable as the rest of us." However, unhappily married gay and lesbian couples don't have the right in the Lone Star State to get a divorce. Or do they? Texas, like 13 other states, does not sanction same-sex marriages. Neither does it recognize such marriages that were legally performed in other states. So, argue some Texas officials, the state cannot grant a same-sex couple... Read more →


Just in time for Valentine's Day, many gay and lesbian couples in Alabama late last week were taking the ultimate commitment step by saying "I do." The ability to exchange wedding vows with distinctly Southern drawls was made possible by a federal court ruling. The battle, however, continues in Alabama; the state's supreme court is expected to weigh in next week. At the national level, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the legality of same-sex marriages this summer. On this day special to lovers, however, there are 38 U.S. jurisdictions where same-sex couples can marry. And on... Read more →


The Supreme Court earlier this month gave same-sex couples the ability to get married in five more states when it refused to hear appellate cases that had struck down the states' bans on such ceremonies. Gay and lesbian couples in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin lined up soon after the High Court non-ruling to exchange vows. Now the affected state tax departments must adjust their rules to accommodate the newlyweds. Virginia is for all lovers: The Old Dominion's tax officials were quick to act. On Oct. 7, the day after the Supreme Court inaction, Virginia's Department of Taxation issued... Read more →


If you just discovered an error on an old tax return, you might be able to correct it. All you need is Form 1040X … as long as the mistake was made on a return you filed within the last three years. Click image for PDF download of full Form 1040X. Details on filing an amended tax return, which is what you'll do with Form 1040X, are found in the Weekly Tax Tip. I'll let you check out the full tip at your leisure, but here are five key things to keep in mind. First, note the three-year time limit... Read more →


It's spring and young couples' fancy lightly turn to thoughts of love. And if they're like the hubby and me, they're also thinking about baseball. That's right. Today is Opening Day! The 2014 Major League Baseball season technically started on Saturday, March 22, when the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks faced off in Sydney, Australia. Yes, the first game of the season was outside the country. So was the second on March 23. The Dodgers took both games at Sydney Cricket Ground. Then we had the 2014 U.S. opening night on Sunday, March 30, at Petco Park, where the... Read more →


This blog post was updated Feb. 13, 2017. Getting married means lots of changes for the newlywed couple, even at tax time. That's when new husbands and wives file their first post-wedding federal Form 1040, choosing a new-for-them filing status. Since the 2014 tax filing season, that decision has affected even more couples. That year marked the first time that same-sex married couples were able to file federal tax returns jointly or as married filing separately. And that means that even more couples now encounter the marriage tax penalty or tax bonus. Just Married Bride and Groom image courtesy photostock/FreeDigitalPhotos.net... Read more →


I now pronounce y'all husband and husband. Or wife and wife. The key word in those declarations is not the same-sex spouses. It's y'all. Yep, it looks like same-sex marriage is coming to the South, the region most resistant to this continuing cultural shift. Courts in Kentucky and Virginia this week handed down rulings declaring unconstitutional their states' prohibitions of gay and lesbian marriages or refusal to recognize such vows legally exchanged elsewhere. The decisions are great Valentine's Day gifts for couples looking to take the next legal step in their relationships. But actual vows won't be exchanged in either... Read more →


How in the heck did February already arrive? And now we're four days into the shortest month? What the…?!? OK. Take a breath. And yes, I'm talking to myself as well as to any similarly flustered blog readers. There's still time left in this shortest month to take care of important tax tasks. So let's take a quick look at some tax moves to make in February's remaining 28 days. A lot of folks filed on Jan. 31 as soon as the Internal Revenue Service started accepting 2013 returns. But the rest of us are waiting, in part because we... Read more →


For good or ill, 2013 is gone. Welcome 2014! On the tax front, 2013 was quite an eventful year. So before we get too deep into this new year, I thought it would be fun to reflect on what happened in the tax world last year. Taxes, of course, are very personal. That one-to-one relationship we all have with the tax code extends even to major developments in tax laws. What seems momentous to me might not be so important to you and vice versa. So the following list of 10 tax happenings in 2013 is in no particular order.... Read more →


The wait is almost over! Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013 will be announced Dec. 11. UPDATE, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m.: My prediction from last night (see end of this item) was correct. Pope Francis is Person of the Year. But I'm very glad that a tax-connected person was one of the finalists. I generally don't pay attention to this annual event. This year is different. Taxes are involved, at least peripherally. One of the five finalists, per NBC Nightly News and on whose sister network program Today the announcement will be made, is Edith Windsor. Bringing down... Read more →


Missouri is one of 34 states that prohibit same-sex couples from getting married. But lesbian and gay couples who married in a jurisdiction that does recognize their unions (15 states plus the District of Columbia) and now live in Missouri will file their 2013 state tax returns as married taxpayers. Missouri's tax sanctioning of same-same marriages is thanks to an executive order issued last week by Gov. Jay Nixon. The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Treasury announced in late August that same-sex married couples now must file a joint Form 1040 or two returns as married filing separately regardless of... Read more →


That adage that the more things change the more they stay the same certainly applies to taxes. It seems that every time lawmakers at any level try to make taxpayer lives easier, some unexpected, unintended consequences pop up. This week gay and lesbian married couples are finding that out, although to be fair, most are not that surprised. Key day for same-sex filers: Monday, Sept. 16, marked the day that same-sex married couples began filing their federal tax returns the same way as heterosexual married couples. Many had received filing extensions this tax season in anticipation of the change, which... Read more →


It's around 1,100 miles from the northeast corner of Texas to the southwest corner of New York, but the Empire State has been on my mind of late. No, it's not because I still can't erase from my mind's eye the Miley Cyrus performance (yeah, let's call it that since this is a family-friendly tax blog) at MTV's 2013 Video Music Awards in Brooklyn's Barclays Center. And no, it's not even because the 2013 professional football season is about to start with my Dallas Cowboys' hosting a Sept. 8 game against NFC East rival the New York Giants. It's because... Read more →