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Same-Sex Marriage and Taxes

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This was my first year, filing a joint Same-Sex tax return. It was such a momentous occasion, that I did the tax return for free. It reminded me, then I should probably let everybody know what the rules are regarding same-sex couples and taxes.

Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), was struck down by the Supreme Court in the Windsor case. This case was over, estate taxes. A same-sex couple was married, and the spouse of the decedent filed an amended estate tax return, claiming portability. The estate tax exemption in 2013 was $5.25 million. If you were married, your unused exemption at death would pass along to your spouse. In the Windsor case, at decedent’s death, the surviving spouse filed an amended estate return claiming portability. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, stating that marriage is between a man and a woman.

This is groundbreaking, and shortly thereafter the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance stating that no matter where a couple lived, if it were legally married in one state, it could be considered married for federal income tax purposes, and estate tax purposes. This was groundbreaking. Couples filed amended returns, and received refunds prior taxes were paid.

In 2013, if you’re same-sex married couple, recognized as married and one municipality, your considered married for federal income tax purposes, if you so choose. You can also file a single. The choice is up to you. This brings up something very interesting, when I found my first joint Same-Sex tax return, I save my client thousands of dollars in taxes because it lowered their tax bracket. You should’ve seen them as we were discussing the tax return. They were trying to wrap their heads around being able to file jointly. It was the sweetest thing that I’ve ever seen.

For more information you can visit my website, where I’ve written a PDF file explaining in detail, this groundbreaking law.

Craig Smalley is the managing partner of CWSEAPA®, LLP, which is an accounting and financial firm located in Delaware, Florida, and Nevada. Craig has been Admitted to Practice Before the Internal Revenue Service, is a Certified Estate Planner™, and is a Certified Tax Resolution Specialist™. Craig specializes in taxation and IRS representation all the way through the United States Tax Court. Form more information visit, call 1-844-CWSEAPA, or email him at

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