10 Same-sex Marriage Tax Filing Tips

Don't Get Double-taxed for Premiums
If your employer's health insurance plan covers your spouse, make sure your premiums are being withheld before taxes, now that your marriage is legally recognized. Elena Shchipkova/iStockphoto/ThinkStock

If you're a same-sex married couple, you may be able to take advantage of health insurance benefits at tax time, and all year long.

According to the IRS, beginning with taxes filed in 2014, spousal health insurance benefits may be excluded from income. This also means health insurance benefits may receive pretax treatment, a move that could save hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars a year.

Previously, a same-sex couple (even if they were married in certain states) were considered by the federal government to be in a domestic partnership, a move that cost a same-sex couple an average of $1,069 more per year in taxes. The increased tax cost occurred because when one spouse received benefits through the other spouse's employer-sponsored health plan, it was purchased by after-tax dollars. In short, the benefits were treated as income and were therefore subject to federal tax. In addition, pretax dollars couldn't be used to pay for coverage of the non-employed spouse.

Now that the federal government recognizes same sex marriages, spousal health insurance benefits are eligible for pretax treatment and income exclusion. In general, you can file amended returns for the past three years to recover income taxes paid on premiums [sources: Human Rights Campaign, MacDonald, IRS].

In the next section, you can learn more about filing amended returns.