Several States Say Married Same-Sex Couples Must File As Singles

| by Khier Casino

Following the DOMA ruling, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said in August that same-sex marriages will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.

States banning same-sex marriage, however, are not jumping on the bandwagon, saying that married same-sex couples in their states will have to file taxes as singles.

Writing in an email to state Rep. Kylie Oversen (D-Grand Forks) in late September, North Dakota Tax Commissioner Cory Fong (R) explained North Dakota’s policy:

Because the North Dakota Constitution does not recognize same sex marriages, the married filing status cannot be recognized for same-sex couples at the state level. Instead, each individual will complete a new supplemental schedule that instructs them on how to report their separate share of the joint federal taxable income. The information on the completed schedule will then be used by each individual to fill out their respective state tax return. The filing status selected by each individual on the state tax return must be either single or head of household.

Kansas is another state saying that married same-sex couples must file their income tax returns as singles, even if they are recognized as married on a federal level.

The Kansas Revenue Department said it “plans to provide a worksheet in its instruction booklet for calculating income, deductions and other data separately for each taxpayer.” The request abides by the Kansas Constitution’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, the group argues.

For all intents and purposes, Equality Kansas’s executive director, Thomas Witt, said Kansas is calling for same-sex couples to “take extra steps that are not required by other married couples.” Tax officials of Kansas are avoiding state law that calls for married couples to use the filing status of their federal income tax as the basis for their state taxes, Witt contended. Gay and lesbian couples are being instructed to not take state law into account and submit separate applications that apply only to them.

“We insist that the Brownback administration immediately rescind this discriminatory directive, and treat gay and lesbian taxpayers with the same fairness every other Kansan is treated,” Witt said.