Same-Sex Couples Gain More Clarity Regarding Their State Taxes

October 15, 2014

[Updated 10/16/14 at 12:05 pm to include link to West Virginia Department of Revenue Administrative Notice]

Last week's action by the U.S. Supreme Court declining to hear appeals in cases regarding same-sex marriage from the Fourth Circuit, Seventh Circuit, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals, along with the issuance of a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals finding bans on same-sex marriage unconstitutional, brought the number of states with same-sex marriage to 30 (plus the District of Columbia). As noted in previous work by the Tax Foundation, marriage equality brings change to "tax lives" of married same-sex couples. These couples now find themselves able to file taxes jointly and take advantage of the many benefits married couples receive in federal, state, and local tax codes.

As the decisions regarding same-sex marriage have been implemented, we have been checking in regularly with the various revenue departments of the newly affected states to determine whether they were now accepting jointly filed tax returns and whether or not they had clarifying guidance ready for issuance. The following is an update to the information found in our previous blog post. Confirmation of filing statuses is through direct communication (telephone and email) by the author with revenue officials in each state as well as any published statements or official documents.

  • Idaho – The Commission is "working on the matter" and hopes to have guidance issued for taxpayers "by the end of the week." Same-sex marriage began only this morning in Idaho.
  • Indiana – Married same-sex couples can file jointly right now and can file amended returns to change their status. Indiana has still not issued any formal guidance to its taxpayers on this matter; taxpayers are being told if they call and ask.
  • North Carolina – Married same-sex couples can file jointly right now. According to the North Carolina Department of Revenue's Director of Public Affairs, the NC DOR website should be updated by the end of today and a formal directive is being prepared (no release date given).
  • Oklahoma – Married same-sex couples can file jointly right now. No formal guidance has yet been issued by the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
  • Utah – Married same-sex couples could file jointly even before the recent developments.
  • Virginia – Married same-sex couples can file jointly right now and may also amend previously filed state tax returns (within the three-year statute of limitations period for amendment), per Virginia Department of Taxation Tax Bulletin 14-7.
  • West Virginia – Married same-sex couples can file jointly right now. According to a Department of Revenue spokeswoman, a formal guidance document is in the works and will be issued "soon." [Ed. Administrative Notice 2014-20 has been issued by the West Virginia State Tax Commissioner.]
  • Wisconsin – Married same-sex couples can file jointly and may amend previously filed state tax returns (within the statute of limitations period for amendment), per the newly updated Wisconsin Department of Revenue website.
  • Alaska and Nevada do not have individual income taxes.

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