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Filing Same-Sex Tax Returns in 2013

By February 12, 2014July 21st, 2023Tax Planning

The Internal Revenue Code has long favored married couples and provides financial benefits to those who file jointly, but the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) precluded married couples of the same sex from filing joint tax returns. The Supreme Court’s 2013 decision struck down this part of DOMA, and the federal government will begin accepting federal tax returns of same sex couples who are legally married, even if the marriage is not recognized where they reside.

While it is clear that states that have passed marriage equality laws will allow joint state returns from same sex couples, it is not clear what states that have not passed marriage equality laws will do. Thankfully for Missouri same-sex couples, Governor Jay Nixon issued an executive order in November that the Department of Revenue for Missouri is to accept joint state tax returns from couples entitled to file their federal return jointly. The Governor said his decision was not based on Missouri’s definition of marriage, but on the structure of the tax code as Missouri’s code is tied to the federal code. The Governor’s decision drew quick criticism, and a lawsuit has been filed seeking to delcare his decision unconstitutional.

In the end, same-sex couples filing their taxes in Missouri will be able to file jointly for both their state and federal returns in 2013, so long as they were married in a state that recognizes their marriage as legal.  If you have questions about filing your return, you should consult with an attorney or an accountant to be sure you are following the tax law.



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