Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It’s Tax Time: Good News/Bad News

I was on vacation for a couple of weeks, and so although I intended to send in my blog post from Puerto Vallarta, it just didn’t happen—somehow beach won out over blog. But I’m back, and now that we are in the middle of tax season, I thought it would be good to provide you with some tax-related information.

First, the bad news. Although GLAD has two lawsuits going to take down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), until those cases conclude DOMA is still in force, and so that means that if you are a married same-sex couple you MUST each file a federal income tax return listing your status as single (unless one of you qualifies as a legal dependent under the IRS code). However, if you live in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Vermont, you MUST file your state tax as married (either married filing jointly or separately). If you live in another state that recognizes your marriage, check with our sister organization, Lambda Legal, about how to file your state taxes. GLAD has a publication that provides additional information on this topic.

Secondly, if because of DOMA you have been paying significantly more in federal taxes than you would have if you had been able to file as married, you may want to file an amended return as married now for the 2007 tax year, because for most people April 15, 2011 is the deadline for filing an amended return for the 2007 tax year. By filing an amended return as married, and then being rejected because of DOMA, you will be given a two year window to sue. This might buy you enough time for us to win our DOMA suit. You should consult with a tax professional before doing this, because filing an amended return could also increase your chance of being audited.

This tax burden is one of the many ways that DOMA continues to harm married same-sex couples. You can read some of the stories of families dealing with this issue on our website. And we encourage you to share your own story with us.

Finally, some important good news for transgender persons who have paid for medical treatment. You may now be able to claim those expenses as a medical deduction on your federal income tax. Thanks to GLAD’s victory in the O’Donnabhain case, treatment for gender identity disorder (GID) is now on the list of conditions that are eligible for consideration for a medical deduction on the federal income tax. As for any medical deduction, you need to have medical documentation that the treatment you received was appropriate for your particular diagnosis. For more details see our publication.

If you have questions about the above or any LGBT/HIV legal matter, contact GLAD’s Legal InfoLine at 800-455-GLAD (4523).

1 comment:

Peter Reilly said...

In filing an amended return for 2007 you should be aware that the return must be received by the IRS before the statute expires. The "timely mailed, timely filed" rule does not apply to amended returns