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Category: Information From the IRS

State Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage in the United States

The U.S. Department of Treasury and the IRS have ruled that same sex-couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize same sex marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.  However, couples who have a registered domestic partnership, civil union, or similar formal relationship recognized under state law do not fall under this ruling.  This ruling comes after the Supreme Court invalidated a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA.

The chart below shows the extent of the potential issues. In the following states, the issue of treating same-sex couples as married for state income tax purposes does not arise, either because the state has no income tax or because the state taxes only interest and dividends and does not provide a separate rate structure for single and married taxpayers:

  • Alaska
  • Florida
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

In each of the following states, same-sex married couples will now file state income taxes as married, because the state allows same-sex marriage:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

In the following states, same-sex marriage is not recognized and there is no conformity between federal and state taxes, so same-sex married couples will have to file as if they were single:

  • Arkansas
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi

In Alabama, the situation is currently completely unclear. The Alabama constitutional ban on recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages was struck down in Searcy v. Strange (S.D. Alabama 2015). The Alabama constitutional ban on in-state same-sex marriages was struck down in Strawser v. Strange (S.D. Alabama 2015). The US Supreme Court declined to issues a stay in the cases. Some Alabama jurisdictions then began issuing marriage licenses, while others refused to issue them (in some instances to any couple, and in others only to same-sex couples. The Supreme Court of Alabama has now compounded the confusion by issuing a decision prohibiting probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Ex parte State of Alabama ex rel. Alabama Policy Institute (S. Ct. Ala. 2015). Alabama Department of Revenue guidance that previously stated that same-sex couples must file as single has now been removed from the Department of Revenue site. However, the Department of Revenue maintains that the guidance is still valid, but that they “took it down because it was generating more questions than it was answering.”

The following states do not recognize same-sex marriage, but conform to federal tax law:

Check your State's .gov page for more detailed information. example:

Last Updated: 10/31/2015

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