Celebrating Nationwide Marriage Equality this Tax Day

Hayley Miller

For decades, LGBTQ people and families faced unique and difficult problems during tax season.

Under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex couples were not treated as spouses by the federal government, including the Internal Revenue Service. As a result LGBTQ families lost out on critical tax benefits specifically intended to help working families, costing them hundreds, even thousands more a year in taxes.

When Section 3 of DOMA was struck down in 2013, marriage equality continued to spread state by state. Even though same-sex couples could file jointly at the federal level in 2014 and 2015, families continued to suffer in states without marriage equality. For example, married same-sex couples living in states that didn’t recognize their marriages had to file one federal return as “married” and two individual state returns as “single.”

Additionally, since some of those states rely on the federal return as a starting point for the state return, same-sex couples had to create individual “mock” federal returns as “single” before even starting their state returns.That means a married same-sex couple living in one of these non-recognition states were forced to create five returns each year – one federal, two “mock” federals, and two state returns.

The Supreme Court’s decision last June ended this discrimination and granted same-sex couples and their families the security that only marriage can provide. This year, following the historic ruling married same-sex couples in all 50 states are able to file their taxes the exact same way as their peers. Today, we remember and celebrate this win for all loving, committed same-sex couples and the brave plaintiff couples and advocates in all 50 states that brought us here.

Still need help filing?

Call the IRS’ hotline at 1-800-906-9887 or visit http://irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep/ to locate a VITA site near you.

Call 1-888-227-7669 or visit http://www.aarp.org/money/taxaide/ to locate an AARP-sponsored Tax-Aide site near you.

For information about Free File, visit http://www.freefilealliance.org/.

If you’re planning to use a paid tax preparer, here are some tips from the IRS on choosing the right one: http://www.taxpayeradvocate.irs.gov/Individuals/Choosing-A-Tax-Preparer.

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