Tax Day For Same-Sex Married Couples Is A Nightmare, And A Sad Reminder That Not All Love Is Treated Equally

For every single American, tax season is a total pain in the ass. (Also you have until the 15th to get them done, so get on that, if you haven't.) But for same-sex married couples filing taxes, especially those living in the 13 states that do not recognize their marriage despite their marriage being recognized by the country, it’s an even bigger headache. Not only are they filing taxes for the IRS that, being a federal agency, recognizes their marriage and accepts their federal taxes filed jointly, but then, if any of these couples are unfortunate enough to live in the 13 states where it’s apparently 1945, they have to file separately. Talk about a mess.

When a married couple files together, they’re allowed to take deductions, combine their income, and are eligible for exemptions, which can sometimes be financially beneficial for the couple. But while same-sex couples get to do this for their federal taxes, when it comes to their state taxes it means that they need to file as if they’re single.

As attorney, Deb L. Kinney, partner at the law firm of Johnston, Kinney & Zulaica in San Francisco explains:

“So you have this one return that would normally give you the numbers to do your state tax return, but instead you have to split all your incomes again and pretend like you’re not married. Your health care benefits will be taxed differently and your credits will be different. Your interest deduction could be different, and then you have to go through the allocation on each return. It’s much more expensive and cumbersome.”

What this comes down to is it’s just another way for same-sex couples to be reminded that their love is still not seen as equal in some circles. These states won’t recognize their marriage, but are more than happy to make them pay more in taxes; something that feels like just another punishment in a long line of punishments that come at the hands of discrimination. It’s not just unfair, but grotesque.

While the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on this issue later in the month, it doesn’t really help tax day this time around. If we’re going to go ourselves the United States of America, then we should probably get our shit together and be united.

No married couple should have to file as “single” just because of where they live when their country recognizes them as a legal married couple. There’s nothing wrong with being single, of course, but there is something wrong with being forced to pretend to be something you’re not because your love and marriage isn’t acknowledged in the state you call home.

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