DOMA-Same Sex Marriage Feed

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 →

The hubby and I have been filing joint federal returns for 31 years. Yes, I was a child bride; that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Now that the Internal Revenue Service is accepting 1040s from same-sex married couples nationwide, I thought it a good time to review the process of filing federal taxes as married taxpayers. This also is something that all newlyweds, regardless of gender, need to know. And it's not a bad refresher for those of us who've been filling in joint 1040s for a very long time. So take your spouse's hand and let's look... Read more →

Welcome to my tax world, same-sex married couples. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that you can file a joint tax return regardless of where you live. If you were legally married in one state, that's good enough for the federal government when it comes to your tax returns. Even if you move to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, the IRS will still take your joint 1040. The decision applies to affected couples who got extensions of their 2012 returns (due Oct. 15), those who married in 2013 and will file their first taxes as... Read more →

Sen. Ben Cardin says it's time for the Internal Revenue Service to finally decide how federal tax laws will apply to same-sex married couples following the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And, says the Maryland Democrat, the IRS should follow the ground rules it already set to recognize all legally performed same-sex marriages regardless of whether the couples subsequently move to a state that does not recognize their marriages. "American taxpayers need clarity and they need it quickly," said Cardin in releasing the letter he has sent to Treasury and the IRS. "The midyear decision... Read more →

Same-sex couples are still waiting for the Internal Revenue Service to issue guidance on how it will process their returns. We might have an indicator from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The federal retirement benefits agency announced on Aug. 10 that, in response to the Supreme Court ruling invalidating the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), it is now processing claims for those in same-sex marriages. But, and it's a big but, Social Security is only issuing benefits for claims by residents of states where same-sex marriages are legal. That limits the benefits, for now, to residents of 13 states and... Read more →

Edith Windsor, the woman whose estate tax lawsuit led the U.S. Supreme Court to invalidate the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is getting even more tax money back. In addition to the $363,000 plus interest that Windsor will get from Uncle Sam for federal estate taxes she paid after the death of her wife Thea Spyer, Windsor also will be getting a New York state estate tax refund. And she's not alone. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has ordered the state's tax department to issue refund checks to the surviving spouses of gay marriages who had to pay estate taxes... Read more →

The Supreme Court on June 26 declared the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, dead. That same day, Attorney General Eric Holder said that President Obama had directed the Justice Department to work with other agencies to expeditiously implement the decision making federal benefits available to same-sex married couples. And expedite they did. On Friday, two days after the DOMA decision and the same day that same-sex marriages resumed in California thanks to the high court's removal of the Proposition 8 roadblock, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) announced that same-sex spouses are eligible for a wide range of federal... Read more →

Can you hear the cheering? It's still going on and it's coming from gay and lesbian couples, their families and friends and same-sex marriage supporters across the country who are thrilled that the U.S. Supreme Court today ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. This federal law, enacted in 1996, defined for federal purposes a marriage as between one man and one woman. Yeah, right. DOMA was enacted because the ship on expanding marriage had already set sail. Gay and lesbian couples currently can get married in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington and the... Read more →

DOMA is dead!

Yes, I know, you've heard this by now, but the Defense of Marriage Act, aka DOMA, is dead. Kaput. Off the books. Finito. Sorry to be slow in announcing it here, but I've been caught up doing some stories on today's Supreme Court ruling, as well as blogging it for Bankrate Taxes Blog. They pay me, you know! I will make some comments on the DOMA ruling here on the ol' blog, but I also had to find my mascara to get ready for a spot at the top of the hour on CNN. UPDATE: My DOMA is dead, part... Read more →

Sometime this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide two gay marriage cases, California's Proposition 8 legalizing same-sex marriages in that state and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, which defines marriage for federal purposes as being the exchange of vows between one man and one woman. One of the 138 same-sex newlywed couples who were greeted by a cheering crowd after their weddings at City Hall in Seattle on Dec. 9, 2012, the first day that same-sex couples could marry in the state of Washington. Photo by Michael Holden via photopin cc The justices' opinions will affect... Read more →

The future of marriage is now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. OK, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Marriage has been around for ages and, despite what some folks say, the definition of this legal contract between two people has changed many, many times. But what the justices decide with regard to same-sex marriage could have dramatic effects on the lives of same-sex couples, both when it comes to their day-to-day lives and a variety of rights and benefits, including in the tax area. The country's highest court today heard arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which... Read more →

On two successive days at the end of this month, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases dealing with gay marriage. Hollingsworth v. Perry, schedule for argument on March 26, involves California's constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage. Then on March 27, the justices will hear arguments in United States v. Windsor. This case concerns federal law that denies gay couples who legally marry the right to obtain federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples. Specifically, in the Windsor case, Edith Windsor filed suit against the federal government in 2010 following the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer, in... Read more →

In October, a federal appeals court ruled that a New York widow was unconstitutionally discriminated against because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) forced her to pay more in estate taxes because she was legally married to another woman. If Edith Windsor had been allowed by the Internal Revenue Service to use the estate tax provisions afforded a surviving spouse in a heterosexual marriage, the estate of her late wife, Thea Spyer, would have passed tax-free to Windsor. The Wedding Couple, after Abbot Handerson Thayer and Richard E. Miller by Mike Licht, via Flickr Now, as expected, the U.S.... Read more →

Here we go again. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that health care reform law, popularly known (even among Democrats) as Obamacare, was constitutional. That split decision hinged on the law's controversial tax component -- the money that the Internal Revenue Service eventually will collect from the uninsured. On Thursday, Oct. 18, a federal appeals court has ruled for a widow fighting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because its restrictions caused her to pay more in estate taxes after her wife died than a surviving spouse in a heterosexual marriage would have owed. Ellen and Shelly -- who... Read more →

Same-sex couples generally must do twice the work at tax-filing time than traditional husband and wife taxpayers. That's because the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defines "marriage" as "only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife." So gay and lesbian married couples must file separate federal returns even though their states allow for a single joint filing. There's also usually a fiscal cost. Not only do the same-sex couples have to pay tax professionals more for the extra work they do. Some of the couples also face higher taxes by not being... Read more →

Vice President Joe Biden was at it again this weekend being voluble Joe Biden. Appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, the veep said he is "absolutely comfortable" with same-sex couples getting the same rights at heterosexual married couples. Lucky for Biden, a second top Obama Administration official today deflected some heat from the veep by echoing that position. On the "Morning Joe" program on MSNBC, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that he supports gay marriage rights. Obviously, the political ramifications are getting all the buzz. But Biden's and Duncan's remarks also offer a chance to remind folks of... Read more →

How serendipitous that New York's decision to sanction same-sax marriages came in June, the most popular month for weddings. OK, it takes 30 days for the law to go into effect, pushing the first exchanging of vows to July 24, but every couple needs time to plan their big day. And it's still is a nice gesture. Photo by Kathryn8/iStock Not to take any glow off the new-found relationship option, but like their heterosexual counterparts, New York's same-sex couples also will now be able to officially divorce. "One of the so-called benefits to marriage is actually divorce," Ruthann Robson, professor... Read more →