Last August, the IRS and U.S. Treasury announced their ruling on recognizing same-sex married couples for federal tax filing purposes, on the condition that the couples were legally married in states that recognize their marriages. This ruling made it clearer for same-sex couples and how they file their Federal return. It reassures couples that regardless of the states they reside, if they celebrated their marriage in one of the 13 states, and D.C., that recognizes same-sex marriage, these couples can file their Federal return as legally married.
There is a question that arises with this new Federal ruling: how does the couple file for their state return? For those that live in one of the 13 states, and D.C., that recognize this, there is no ambiguity between the Federal and state return. For the 24 states that do not recognize same-sex marriages but look to the Federal return for the filing status, there are several options to solve the state fling issue:
- The taxpayers can create a “dummy” federal return, showing single filing, as reference for the state filing purposes
- The taxpayers can choose to “split” the federal return 50/50, then apply their respective portion to the single filing rate for their state return
- The taxpayer can create a new filing status at the Federal level, i.e. – married filing jointly or married filing separately. This option is ideal for states that recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships.
For same-sex couples who are residents in Georgia, the state requires that taxpayers continue to file as single, regardless of their Federal filing status. If taxpayers filed a Federal married filing jointly, or separately, taxpayers need to recompute their Federal Adjusted Gross Income and itemized deductions as if they filed their Federal return as single. Although taxpayers may amend Federal returns to change the filing status, no amended returns will be allowed for Georgia to change the filing status.