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Same-sex married couples must file income tax returns as 'single' in Georgia

For those same-sex couples legally married in the eyes of the Federal government, a strange situation exists with respect to filing 2013 income tax returns if they live in Georgia. Of course, it is assumed they were married someplace other than Georgia.

Let's assume the couple, Jane and Sue, married in New York in 2013. When they file their federal tax return(s) for 2013, they must file as either "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately". I am not a tax expert but I assume one or both could also file as "head of household" if qualified. They cannot, by law, file as "single".

Georgia tax law has, for many years, required taxpayers to file Georgia income tax returns using the same filing status as they did for their Federal returns. Starting for 2013, this causes a problem because the Georgia Constitution prohibits the recognition of same-sex marriages. Therefore, the state constitution trumps Georgia tax law, forcing married same-sex couples to file as "single" for their Georgia returns. Some may qualify "head of household" for Georgia.

Couples who fall in this category should begin now to plan for filing returns by April 15, 2014. It will be a bigger headache than in the past.