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August 8, 2011 Print

New York Times Gives Tax Advice to Newly Married Same-Sex Couples

by Karla Dial

Same-sex couples in New York got marriage from their legislators in June. But when they file their tax returns next April, how many of them will be hit with a state marriage penalty?

Depends on how much they make — and how they file their taxes.

In an Aug. 3 article on The New York Times blog “Bucks,” accountant Tina Salandra advised same-sex couples earning more than $75,000 apiece to keep their state “single withholding” status to avoid the marriage penalty. Also, same-sex “spouses” can use “married, filing separately” on their state returns.

“Married heterosexuals cannot usually file as separate unless they also file this way on their federal tax return,” she said. “Consequently, until the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage, there may be a tax advantage in New York State for married same-sex taxpayers.”

The federal Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

CitizenLink Judicial Analyst Bruce Hausknecht said the hodge-podge of laws demands a federal definition of marriage.

“The policies on it are so valuable and connected between federal and state,” he said. “I think if Americans will elect conservative majorities in Congress, as well as a conservative president, you’ll see another push for a marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution that defines marriage as one man and one woman.”

Read the U.S. General Account Office’s 2004 report on the Defense of Marriage Act.

Read “Tax Changes for Gay Married New Yorkers,” The New York Times, “Bucks,” August 3, 2011.

Review the results of the June 16 comprehensive survey, which found that 62 percent of Americans want marriage defined only as one man and one woman.

Review the wide margins by which marriage won in 31 states.