How Does DOMA Affect Me?

Christopher Axene | September 6th, 2013

This article discusses the changes to individual tax payers that are in a legal same-sex marriage.

Earlier this year the Supreme Court declared that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  Section 3 of DOMA required that same-sex spouses are to be treated as unmarried for purpose of federal law.  It is now recognized that same-sex couples that were legally married in states that recognize same-sex marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, even if the state they are currently residing in does not allow same-sex marriages.  The same is true for couples married legally in a foreign jurisdiction.  This now allows for same-sex married couples to file with the status of “married filing jointly” (MFJ) or “married filing separately” (MFS).

DOMA Impact on Your Taxes

Here are some of the changes that may affect you when filing your taxes:

  • For the 2012 tax year, if same-sex spouses filed before September 16, 2013, the couple can amend their federal tax return to file as MFJ or MFS.
  • Taxpayers can now file amended federal returns for all open years if they so choose. For more information, please check out the IRS website.
  • A taxpayer’s same-sex spouse cannot be dependent of the taxpayer.
  • If same-sex spouses file separately, only one parent can claim a qualifying child.
  • If one same-se x spouse claims a standard deduction, the other spouse can not itemize deductions.
  • If a taxpayer  adopts the child of their same-sex spouse,  the taxpayer may not claim the adoption credit for the qualifying adoption expenses he or she pays or incurs to adopt the child.
  • If an employer provided health coverage for an employee’s same-sex spouse and the value of that coverage was included in the employee’s gross income, the employee can file an amended Form 1040 reflecting the employee’s status as a married individual.
  • If an employer sponsored a cafeteria plan, a taxpayer can file an amended return to recover income taxes paid on premiums that they paid on an after-tax basis for health coverage for their same-sex spouse.

Contact Our Tax Professionals

These are just a few of the changes that affect taxpayers that may be in same-sex marriages.  These changes are only for federal filing, Ohio has not issued any guidance yet but it should be out soon. If you have additional questions about how this may affect you, contact Rea & Associates.  Our team of tax professionals can answer any additional questions you may have and help you understand what this change means to you.

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