- IRS Domestic Partner Regulations
- Can I Claim My Disabled Domestic Partner on My Taxes?
- Can an Unmarried Couple File Jointly for Income Tax?
- Can a Domestic Partner's Insurance Benefits Be Claimed on Taxes?
- Can I Claim My Domestic Partner on My IRS Form as a Dependent?
- NYS Employee Benefits for a Domestic Partner
Internal Revenue Service rules prescribe different tax treatments for legally-registered domestic partnerships and other forms of legal union depending on whether the couple involved is comprised of a man and a woman or two same-sex partners. In general, the IRS tax rules for 2012 that apply to spouses or married couples do not apply to same-sex domestic partners.
Federal law as of mid-2012 does not recognize same-sex registered domestic partners as married for federal tax purposes even though the partners are legally united for state law purposes. Accordingly, the IRS does not allow same-sex domestic partners to file their federal taxes jointly or as married filing separately.
A partner in a same-sex union must file as single or, if he or she has dependents, as an unmarried head of a household. But the taxpayer can’t file as head of a household if his or her only dependent is the same-sex domestic partner. IRS rules require that dependents be related to you, but a same-sex domestic partner under federal law is not your relative.
Because same-sex domestic partners are not spouses under federal law, they are not bound by IRS rules that can burden a married couple. For example, married spouses who file separate tax returns must treat deductions the same way, with both spouses itemizing or both taking the standard deduction. But a same-sex domestic partner can take the standard deduction or itemize without regard to whether the other partner takes the standard deduction or itemizes.
Eight states that legally recognize same-sex domestic partnerships, unions or marriages permit the same-sex partners to file a joint state income tax return. The District of Columbia also recognizes same-sex partnerships and allows them to jointly file district tax returns. As of 2011 the same-sex, joint-filing states include California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon and Vermont. When state tax deduction rules follow federal deduction rules, same-sex couples who choose to file their state taxes jointly have to prepare a mockup of a federal joint tax return as if they were married so they can complete their state return.
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