Trying to plan for a same sex partnership is already difficult, but the pressure of tax season makes it even worse. As much as you love being with your partner, you probably have a hard time dealing with the trouble brewing around your income taxes. Even if you live in a state that recognizes same sex marriage or domestic partnership, you will still have to deal with federal tax issues. The state tax returns are based off of federal tax return information. And thanks to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the government does not recognize same-sex marriage nationwide, and neither does the IRS. So this means that couples cannot file jointly, which is definitely making tax life complicated. Same sex couples have to shell out a lot more money to be protected, which takes away money from the shared household.
And community property states mean even more complications. Many couples fear their returns being rejected because all of the numbers don’t match up all of the time. The preparer has to use a mock joint federal tax return, then use the “mock” return to prepare a joint state tax return. There’s still the danger of things being rejected, but it’s a risk many couples just have to take.
Refunds are also not very quick. Most same sex couples have to file paper returns, which slows down their refund dramatically — some couples have even had to wait nearly 10 months just to get their return. That’s a very long time, and it can really add up when you’re trying to really get bigger things done in your life.
Everything seems higher — health insurance costs, tax preparer costs, and the time that you have to wait for your refund. However, there are some light at the end of the tunnel. This is a problem that’s spiraling out of control, and many advocacy groups are now fighting hard for change sin tax legislation. So there could come a day where taxes flow as smoothly as they do for heterosexual married couples.
Is it possible? Yes. Will change come slowly? It often does. Hang in there!