Thanks to a 2013 Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriage on the federal level, couples who have entered into a valid same-sex marriage must file federal tax returns using either married filing jointly or married filing separately status. The ruling applies to couples married in a state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage, even if the couple lives in a state that does not recognize the marriage [source: IRS Treasury].
That ruling, as well as new IRS regulations, means that you and your same-sex spouse can now legally take advantage of all of the married tax benefits in this list. Keep in mind that this ruling has nothing to do with state taxes. You may still have to file your state tax returns individually.
Author's Note: 10 Tax Tips for Married Couples
As I write this, I've just been through a divorce. Writing about the tax advantages married couples enjoy isn't quite as bad as pouring salt into a wound, and it certainly isn't a good enough reason to stay in a bad marriage, but it has been eye-opening. With this year my first to file as a single person in 27 years, I've been paying attention to these tips. Now, if I can only figure out a way around some of them!
- Bell, Kay. "How Marriage Impacts Your Taxes." Bankrate.com. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.bankrate.com/finance/money-guides/how-marriage-impacts-your-taxes-1.aspx
- DaveRamsey.com. "Tax Filing Tips for Married Couples." Jan. 30, 2012. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.daveramsey.com/article/tax-filing-tips-for-married-couples/lifeandmoney_taxes/
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Frequently Asked Questions on Estate Taxes." Sept. 18, 2014. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Frequently-Asked-Questions-on-Estate-Taxes
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "In 2014, Various Tax Benefits Increase Due to Inflation Adjustment." Oct. 31, 2014. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/In-2014,-Various-Tax-Benefits-Increase-Due-to-Inflation-Adjustments
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Itemizing vs. Standard Deduction: Six Tips to Help You Choose." Oct. 27, 2014. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Itemizing-vs-Standard-Deduction-Six-Tips-to-Help-You-Choose
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Preview of 2014 EITC Income Limits, Maximum Credit Amounts and Tax Law Updates." Dec. 30, 2013. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Preview-of-2012-EITC-Income-Limits,-Maximum-Credit--Amounts-and-Tax-Law-Updates
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Roth IRAs." Feb. 20, 2014. (Oct. 26, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Roth-IRAs
- Internal Revenue Service, "Seven Tips for Recently Married Taxpayers." Sept. 5, 2014. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Seven-Tax-Tips-for-Recently-Married-Taxpayers
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Ten Facts About the Child Tax Credit." Feb. 10, 2010. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Ten-Facts-about-the-Child-Tax-Credit
- Internal Revenue Service, "Topic 701: Sale of Your Home." Aug. 11, 2014. (Oct. 27, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc701.html
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Traditional IRAs." (Oct. 26, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/publications/p590/ch01.html#d0e960
- Internal Revenue Service (IRS). "Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes; Ruling Provides Certainty, Benefits and Protections Under Federal Tax Law for Same-Sex Married Couples." July 16, 2014. (Oct. 14, 2014) http://www.irs.gov/uac/Newsroom/Treasury-and-IRS-Announce-That-All-Legal-Same-Sex-Marriages-Will-Be-Recognized-For-Federal-Tax-Purposes%3B-Ruling-Provides-Certainty,-Benefits-and-Protections-Under-Federal-Tax-Law-for-Same-Sex-Married-Couples
- TurboTax. "7 Tax Advantages of Getting Married." 2013. (Oct. 27, 2014) https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tools/tax-tips/Family/7-Tax-Advantages-of-Getting-Married-/INF17870.html
The most sweeping tax overhaul in decades became law in December 2017. HowStuffWorks explains what taxpayers can do to benefit from the tax changes.