In the wake of the ruling, the government announced that it would also recognize any same-sex marriage if the couple got married in a jurisdiction allowing such marriages — even if the couple lived in a state that did not. Of the 50 states, 31 have constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. In addition, completing a joint is usually the best way for married people to lower their taxable income. Their liability may actually go up once they tie the knot. There was, however, a potential for complication at the state level. Roberton Williams, Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center's Sol Price Fellow , said legislation enacted in and protects most middle-income households from marriage penalties, increasing the size of marriage bonuses, but low- and high-income couples can incur substantial marriage penalties, most often when both spouses have similar incomes.
But Social Security recipients might face greater taxes on their benefits because they will hit the level where the benefits begin to be taxed sooner if married. Many variables figure into which states are likely to benefit and which are not, according to Leguizamon, the Tulane study researcher, who is now a senior lecturer in economics at Vanderbilt University. Since Windsor, these couples typically would file their federal tax returns as married filing jointly or separately and then file as singles or heads of households, if eligible for state tax purposes. At death, if the deceased spouse received a higher Social Security benefit than the survivor, the survivor generally can receive the entire higher benefit. In the ruling, the court threw out the Defense of Marriage Act of , which contained the restriction. The courts agree that the First Amendment gives churches the right to refuse to conduct religious ceremonies for same-sex partners if they conflict with their belief. Both couples were seeking to file taxes as married, which Kansas did not allow since the state had passed a constitutional amendment outlawing gay marriage. Couples who plan on raising a child together have extra incentive to put together a joint return. If there is a wide gap between the two incomes, taxpayers usually pay less because of rate structures — a loss for the state. If filing as a married couple would result in a lower state tax liability in states that prohibited same-sex marriage until now, it might be possible to file amended returns seeking refunds for previous years in which the couple was married. After the apparent rush to the altar levels off, however, the long-term revenue implications for states could be less obvious. If you're using an accountant or other tax professional, you only have to pay for the preparation of one tax form instead of two. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision, the Nelson-Dedmons and the Woodricks are considered married and can file taxes as such. Marriage, Taxes Interlaced The issue of taxation has been integral to the debate about same-sex marriage. Of all the state and local taxes, the personal income tax is the one into which marriage factors the most. Other credits available include the aforementioned Earned Income Tax Credit, and both the American Opportunity and Lifetime Learning Credits, both of which help alleviate the cost of higher education. It was also one that has some major practical implications for gay and lesbian couples. There would seem to be some precedent. The Tax Policy Center's Marriage Bonus and Penalty Tax Calculator on its website shows how the "marriage bonus" is magnified if a couples' incomes vary more. Of course, there are lots of offsetting benefits to being married and to having your marriage recognized by the federal government, so on the whole there's nothing to shed tears over here. Most newlyweds, if anything, will receive a bonus by filing as a married taxpayer. Henry Guberman, another partner with ParenteBeard, said same-sex couples who are now eligible to file joint federal tax returns should consider "common pitfalls. Self-insured health plans can arguably continue to exclude same-sex spouses, but employers could invite discrimination lawsuits by doing so. In a state where income is higher, tax revenue is higher as well. Hodges, the Court held that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, effectively making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. When you add this to the fact that a lot of these two-earner couples are earning higher incomes than those in California, it is not surprising that more revenue is generated for the state, he said. For example, say one spouse wants to deduct some hefty out-of-pocket medical expenses.
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Religion and Gay Marriage
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