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Post-Windsor
August 29, 2013 11:33 AM   Subscribe

The Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service announced today that it will recognize same-sex marriages for the purpose of filing federal taxes, even if the couple lives in a state that does not recognize their marriage.

Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a memo clarifying that all beneficiaries in private Medicare plans have access to equal coverage when it comes to care in a nursing home where their spouse lives.

This is the first guidance issued by HHS and IRS n response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Windsor v. United Stateswhich held section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
posted by roomthreeseventeen (110 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
Between this and the marijuana announcement from the DOJ, I am a very happy camper right now.
posted by gingerbeer at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Pa. governor: Gay people are children and therefore can't legally marry.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:42 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


More good news: the 9th circuit just upheld the law banning the provision of conversion therapy to minors!
posted by prefpara at 11:43 AM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is amazing. America, fuck yeah.

Nice to have some good news.
posted by sio42 at 11:43 AM on August 29, 2013


YAY! Now they get to pay the marriage penalty.
posted by Gungho at 11:44 AM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm destroying American Values by pulling my husband into a lower tax bracket with my pathetic author's wages BUWAHAHAHAHAHAHA
posted by The Whelk at 11:45 AM on August 29, 2013 [48 favorites]


I'm sorry the governor of my state seems to have a head injury which is making him say silly things.
posted by sio42 at 11:45 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ye-e-ea-a-ah!
posted by box at 11:48 AM on August 29, 2013


What gingerbeer said (yes, gay marriage causes brain-sharing). It's a weird but neat kind of day so far.
posted by rtha at 11:49 AM on August 29, 2013


God, I wonder what this sort of changeover is like at the absolute deepest level of processing the documents. Like equality of marriage was finally and truly real because someone commented out a function that gives an error message if you try to process a joint return with two people of the same gender.
posted by griphus at 11:49 AM on August 29, 2013 [54 favorites]


Pa. governor: Gay people are children and therefore can't legally marry.

Given their propensity for unseemly tantrums, most of the Right Wing should, by this logic, have their marriages annulled. Now who's making marriage look bad?
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, hurrah!

Also, also, it's about f-ing time.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:50 AM on August 29, 2013


I'm also happy that the CBS headline writer understand the value of commas ("Pa. governor's attorneys: Gays, like children, can't marry").
posted by rtha at 11:51 AM on August 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


I'm sorry the governor of my state seems to have a head injury which is making him say silly things.

Based on the article, it appears he hasn't said anything like what the headline indicates. State attorneys have filed a brief that argues the marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples can be dismissed en masse rather than having individual hearings. In the course of the brief, they argue, "Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?"
posted by mr_roboto at 11:51 AM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


God, I wonder what this sort of changeover is like at the absolute deepest level of processing the documents.

"For the purposes of making documentation easier, every person in America is a "Fred" or "Ethel" in the paperwork. Same-Sex couples can pick who is the Fred or Ethel, but please, we can only take one of each in a household."
posted by The Whelk at 11:52 AM on August 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Here's the Department of the Treasury's press release, by the way.
posted by box at 11:52 AM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


mr_roboto, you could just call it linkbait and be done in half the time it too you to write "fancy headline-writing."
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on August 29, 2013


God, I wonder what this sort of changeover is like at the absolute deepest level of processing the documents. Like equality of marriage was finally and truly real because someone commented out a function that gives an error message if you try to process a joint return with two people of the same gender.


I can't speak for the IRS, but as someone who works in gathering requirements for systems in an industry also affected by decisions like this, I can just say "I fucking wish."

(though it may have been easier if way back when we'd just been able to flip the switch and say "Same Sex Couple = Y" rather than adding domestic partnerships and civil unions to the system in the middle)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon: "Pa. governor: Gay people are children and therefore can't legally marry."

I wouldn't use that analogy if I was governor of the state with the biggest pederasty scandal of the decade.
posted by boo_radley at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2013 [26 favorites]


God, I wonder what this sort of changeover is like at the absolute deepest level of processing the documents. Like equality of marriage was finally and truly real because someone commented out a function that gives an error message if you try to process a joint return with two people of the same gender.

Previously
posted by kmz at 11:55 AM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't use that analogy if I were the governor of the state with the biggest pederasty scandal of the decade.

It is in pretty poor taste. But then you have a former Senator who drew analogies of gay people with dogs and such, so that's Pennsyltucky for you. At least we're moving up from animals to children.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on August 29, 2013


Gungho: "YAY! Now they get to pay the marriage penalty."

Which isn't always actually a penalty...
posted by pwnguin at 11:59 AM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Holy fucking fuck. It's crazy to think about this happening when Vermont's civil union law was a punchline less than 15 years ago - when gay marriage advocates in the USA were being attacked by other gay people because the concept was so obviously outrageous and we would never be able to weather the backlash.
posted by en forme de poire at 12:00 PM on August 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Yay!
posted by zarq at 12:00 PM on August 29, 2013


This could cause a major headache--both bureaucratic and political-- for states with an income tax, but which don't recognize same sex marriage (assuming there are any), because most states that have an income tax just specify a percentage of the federal tax.
posted by jamjam at 12:00 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


YAY! Now they get to pay the marriage penalty.

According to the Tax Policy Center, "Couples with marriage bonuses far outnumber those incurring marriage penalties."
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:01 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am all in favor of this, but I have a question. I have never filed taxes jointly, so how does that work? Do you just put in "I'm John and my spouse is Jim and his social security number is blahdeblah" and the magical IRS computers figure this all out? Or is there some other proof of marriage that's required? What if the state you're in doesn't recognize your marriage, how do you go about proving it? I guess you have a legal marriage certificate from some other state, right?
posted by backseatpilot at 12:02 PM on August 29, 2013


jamjam: "This could cause a major headache--both bureaucratic and political-- for states with an income tax, but which don't recognize same sex marriage (assuming there are any), because most states that have an income tax just specify a percentage of the federal tax."

I must have terrible luck then, because that's never been the case for me. Every state I've filed with has their own tier. They usually do ask for federal AGI, though.
posted by pwnguin at 12:04 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"What I meant to say is that gay people shouldn't be allowed to marry because it would make them too powerful. Already, powerful witchcraft and sorcery are being practiced by gay men and women across this country. A formal union of two high-level casters could have drastic and dangerous effects on the mundane world. I urge my fellow Americans to do whatever they can to placate their gay wizard overlords, but to keep this last silver of hope for our future alive. Thank you."
posted by The Whelk at 12:05 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


What if the state you're in doesn't recognize your marriage, how do you go about proving it?

I don't think you have to provide proof of marriage, but the IRS can check. Marriage records are public information, and the IRS has your social security numbers.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:06 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, those people putting together next year's TurboTax are gonna be working overtime.
posted by emjaybee at 12:06 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


To be fair to us Pennsyltuckians Governor Corbett currently has a 17% approval rating so we don't like him much either.
posted by octothorpe at 12:07 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am all in favor of this, but I have a question. I have never filed taxes jointly, so how does that work? Do you just put in "I'm John and my spouse is Jim and his social security number is blahdeblah" and the magical IRS computers figure this all out? Or is there some other proof of marriage that's required? What if the state you're in doesn't recognize your marriage, how do you go about proving it? I guess you have a legal marriage certificate from some other state, right?

As a straight guy who is married, you list both spouses names on the form and provide both your social security numbers. That's about it. I've never been asked to provide any certificate proving that I'm married to my wife. Maybe that would happen if I was audited and they had some reason to think we might not be married.
posted by Area Man at 12:08 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Or is there some other proof of marriage that's required?

If you get audited, perhaps they look at how long you've lived together. It should be easy to check if you share a residence, and if not, maybe you have to show receipts for shared expenses that would normally be accrued by a typical married couple.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:08 PM on August 29, 2013


I live in MontCo, PA and it's been tough, the last few weeks-- all those happy gay families now legally married, their children bouncing around getting to see their parents get hitched, those smiling classmates and alums who have a hope of legal recognition, wedding venues and florists getting paid. Wait, did I say tough? It's been awesome.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:08 PM on August 29, 2013 [19 favorites]


This could cause a major headache--both bureaucratic and political-- for states with an income tax, but which don't recognize same sex marriage (assuming there are any), because most states that have an income tax just specify a percentage of the federal tax.

I'm sure they'll just make it a headache for the couples filing: force them to recalculate their federal taxes as if they were single.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:09 PM on August 29, 2013


This could cause a major headache--both bureaucratic and political-- for states with an income tax, but which don't recognize same sex marriage (assuming there are any), because most states that have an income tax just specify a percentage of the federal tax.

Before Windsor, the headache used to be for same-sex couples who lived in states that recognized their marriages because they weren't recognized on the federal level. What they had to do was do their federal taxes twice. First as single filers to figure out their federal tax liability, then as joint filers so that they could migrate their information to their state tax returns. Now the situation is reversed, people living in state that don't recognize their marriage for tax purposes and use federal information on the state tax returns will have to do their federal taxes twice.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:09 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Man, those people putting together next year's TurboTax are gonna be working overtime.

TT hasn't had the ability to submit documents electronically for same-sex married couples or domestic partnerships for the last couple years. We've had to file by paper, in the meantime. Perhaps Intuit was waiting on the federal-side of the outcome of the SCOTUS rulings to decide how to focus their software development resources.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 PM on August 29, 2013


Wait, Blazecock Pileon, I thought there was some rule requiring the ability to efile for free for anyone whose AGI was less than 57k. Maybe TT in particular didn't have to provide the ability, but I really thought it had to be available somehow.
posted by nat at 12:15 PM on August 29, 2013


(By which I mean, if it *hasn't* been possible for same sex couples to efile for the last few years, then it seems like a rule hasn't been followed)
posted by nat at 12:16 PM on August 29, 2013


I know politicians like their grandstanding but I've found the tax/revenue folks to be much more focused on what's actually practical and it wouldn't surprise me if states where they don't want to full-on legalize it just start saying "Yeah, yeah, yeah, you can be married on our taxes because we don't want to be dealing with all this bullshit BUT IT'S STILL NOT LEGAL TECHNICALLY SPEAKING".
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:17 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Aren't they concerned this might erode conservative support for the IRS?
posted by straight at 12:19 PM on August 29, 2013 [24 favorites]


Pa. governor: Gay people are children and therefore can't legally marry.

I get prouder every day that two of my friends are parties in the lawsuit telling him to shut the hell up.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:21 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Another part of the ruling is that the IRS said it can be relied on retroactively, meaning that same-sex couples can file amendments for prior years still open under the three-year statute of limitations if they stand to gain a larger tax return by filing jointly.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 12:22 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wait, Blazecock Pileon, I thought there was some rule requiring the ability to efile for free for anyone whose AGI was less than 57k. Maybe TT in particular didn't have to provide the ability, but I really thought it had to be available somehow.

I'm not a tax expert, but TurboTax isn't the only electronic filing system, I think. Maybe others offer that service?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


backseatpilot: "I am all in favor of this, but I have a question. I have never filed taxes jointly, so how does that work? Do you just put in "I'm John and my spouse is Jim and his social security number is blahdeblah" and the magical IRS computers figure this all out? Or is there some other proof of marriage that's required? What if the state you're in doesn't recognize your marriage, how do you go about proving it? I guess you have a legal marriage certificate from some other state, right?"

I've filed jointly with my wife for 11 years. The IRS (federal) does not require proof of marriage unless you are audited, and I believe that's pretty perfunctory.

You indicate the first time you file your joint 1040 form that your filing/household status has changed from last year. Under normal circumstances they match social security numbers with names to determine you are who you say you are, so if a spouse changes their name when they get married, the name and number have to match.

If your W4 exemptions consistently don't match your filing resulting in underpayment and owed taxes they may contact you about it, and demand you to change the exemptions. (That happened to me last year.)

In an audit, they may ask for proof of marriage: a marriage license, proof of residence (bills in both names) and statements from a joint bank account are probably enough, but there's probably a list of requirements somewhere online that I'm too lazy to look for.
posted by zarq at 12:30 PM on August 29, 2013


Meanwhile, here in Indiana, a fledgling group, which includes two of the state's largest employers, begins a push to defeat the coming constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:34 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Before Windsor, the headache used to be for same-sex couples who lived in states that recognized their marriages because they weren't recognized on the federal level.

That weird noise you guys might've heard in April for the last few years was gingerbeer gnashing her teeth and swearing and rending her garments as she did this for us.
posted by rtha at 12:36 PM on August 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Meanwhile, in New Jersey:
[Cory] Booker told the Washington Post this week that he's been dating more, and doesn't care if his bachelor status leads to speculation about his sexual orientation. "[S]ome people who think I'm gay, some part of me thinks it's wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia. I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I'm gay, and I say, 'So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I'm straight.' "

Lonegan wasn't impressed with the comments. Even by contemporary Republican standards, this was just ugly.
[Lonegan] was asked about Booker's response by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg [Tuesday] afternoon, and said he didn't know if Booker is gay but thought it was "weird" that he was unwilling to answer the question, speculating that maybe "it helps get him the gay vote by acting ambiguous."

But Lonegan was sure of one thing: Steve Lonegan is a real man because "as a guy, I personally like being a guy" and he is certainly not one of those sorts who goes in for things like manicures and pedicures like Cory Booker does!
"I personally like being a guy"? Does Lonegan believe gay men aren't actually "guys"?
I don't like rooting for Booker for a number of reasons, but running against a shitheel like this and not giving a shit if people think he's gay lessens the pain.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:41 PM on August 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Hooray! I figured after Windsor that this step was inevitable, but it's still good to see it happen.

Thorzdad, I wish I had confidence in even two of the state's largest employers' influence to defeat the marriage amendment. Even if it winds up proving a major albatross for the state in general and the Republican party in particular, I wish I could believe the legislature would find a way not to pass it.
posted by Gelatin at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2013


This inspired many a Google search today as to which county clerks' offices outside of Utah I could drive with the partner to and get this locked down. Fuck my backwards state. If you weren't home I wouldn't be in you anymore.
posted by msbutah at 12:45 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm actually a little surprised that this is creating e-filing headaches. The 1040 is perfectly gender neutral. In fact, as far as I know, everything the IRS does is gender-neutral — I've never seen a tax form with little M and F boxes anywhere on it.

Is it just that TurboTax pukes if you try to say "We're married for Federal purposes but not for State purposes" or vice versa? Or what's the deal?
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 12:47 PM on August 29, 2013


Another part of the ruling is that the IRS said it can be relied on retroactively, meaning that same-sex couples can file amendments for prior years still open under the three-year statute of limitations if they stand to gain a larger tax return by filing jointly.

Best! That's really nice news.
posted by stoneweaver at 12:47 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


By the way, the article Thorzdad linked contained this sentence:
Indiana law already defines marriage as between a man and woman, but [American Family Association of Indiana executive director Micah] Clark and other supporters of the amendment say they want a stronger prohibition.

I wonder if the push the state constitutional ban in Indiana (and previously in Minnesota) means that conservatives see state laws becoming invalidated by the Supreme Court in the near future? (A stance with which, given the Court's ruling in Windsor, I'd actually agree with them for a change.)
posted by Gelatin at 12:49 PM on August 29, 2013


God damn it, people, don't make me defend an asshole like Tom Corbett! But he didn't say gays are childlike and thus can't marry.

What his legal team is saying is that, rightly or wrongly (I happen to think wrongly, but that's beside the point) gays cannot marry in Pennsylvania. That doesn't change because some County Clerk decides to take it upon him or herself to issue them licenses anyway. TFA linked states this pretty clearly.

"Had the clerk issued marriage licenses to 12-year-olds in violation of state law, would anyone seriously contend that each 12-year-old ... is entitled to a hearing on the validity of his 'license'?"

Not only are they not calling gays children, they're also right. Look, I'm strongly in favor of gay marriage, but I don't like the precedent being set by County Clerks in various states of simply deciding that they believe their states' gay marriage bans are not constitutional and just going ahead and acting as they see fit - even when I agree with the result. Because honestly I can think of a hell of a lot of counties in this country where the various County Clerks would most likely like to see a whole hell of a lot of things done differently than they are now, and horrifyingly so, if they get it into their heads that they're some kind of sovereign citizens who can do whatever the fuck they want as long as it fits with whatever they think the constitution says.

As was noted upthread, gay marriage is winning the fight more rapidly and decisively than anyone would ever have predicted. Can we just let the judicial and legislative branches do their jobs and settle it before we kick out the jams and let petty bureaucrats run roughshod over the law?

Seriously, i can't believe you fuckers made me say that here. I'm going to get slagged off by Kavasa again. wtf mefi?
posted by Naberius at 12:51 PM on August 29, 2013 [22 favorites]


Gelatin, I fully expect the legislature to pass the amendment and Pence to sign the horrid thing, no matter what business leaders say. I'm cautiously encouraged, though, by polls showing Hoosiers are opposed to the constitutional amendment. Still, this is Indiana...
posted by Thorzdad at 12:57 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the push the state constitutional ban in Indiana (and previously in Minnesota) means that conservatives see state laws becoming invalidated by the Supreme Court in the near future?

If something is unconstitutional according to the Constitution of the United States, it doesn't matter if it's a state law or part of a state constitution. Either way, the supremacy clause wins. Even a (constitutional) federal law trumps a state constitution.

State marriage amendments are typically pursued as efforts to bring same-sex marriage to a popular vote. The GOP started playing this game in 2004, as a conservative get-out-the-vote effort. It's going to start being an awfully dangerous game for them, though, as popular opinion is turning against them.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:02 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


But he didn't say gays are childlike and thus can't marry.

Corbett and his team made the analogy that gays have the status of children, as far as legal rights related to marriage are concerned.

It's a less insulting way of framing what would have been a statement from a Pennsylvanian official say, fifteen or twenty years ago, that people can't marry and sleep with, say, dogs or horses, so the gays can't get married.

It's a modern twist on Atwater's language abstraction strategy. It was offensive wording then and it is only marginally less offensive today.

I'm happy more federal departments are recognizing our rights, but there's clearly still a long way to go, when that's the kind of demeaning language being used in states that still argue for maintaining second-class status.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:06 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think we need to institute a site-wide convention that's the opposite of the "." usage in obit threads. You know, that we use when something that many have waited way too f'ing long for happens and now it's finally f'ing happened and what else is there to say but "About f'ing time!"

I propose: !

(I realize this may cause exploding heads amongst those who hate the . in obit threads. I'm sorry.)
posted by hapax_legomenon at 1:16 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


they didn't say that gays have the status of children, they said that gays, like children, do not have the legal ability to get married.

sheesh am I really about to bust a gasket over a linkbate headline? No, I am not, because in total, this thread is about awesome news and awesome things.
posted by rebent at 1:16 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gelatin, I fully expect the legislature to pass the amendment and Pence to sign the horrid thing, no matter what business leaders say.

...and yet Republicans claim to be pro-business.

while preventing affordable state healthcare that encourages the risk of entrepreneurship

and while threatening to ruin the economy by defaulting on debt from spending that they already authorized.

I tell you, we're going to be feeling the impact of the 2010 election, and subsequent gerrymandered redistricting, for years to come.
posted by leotrotsky at 1:38 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


YAY! Now they get to pay the marriage penalty.

I have a feeling this was what they were thinking--moar taxes from those upper middle class gays!
Although I don't think that's the way it works...

Aren't they concerned this might erode conservative support for the IRS?

Baal knows, one can only hope!
posted by BlueHorse at 1:44 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


We are now going to pay about $1k less in federal taxes this year. While I am happy to be paying less I am more happy we are no longer paying for the privilege of being discriminated against.
posted by munchingzombie at 1:49 PM on August 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


Aren't they concerned this might erode conservative support for the IRS?
!

The question I can't seem to tease out is, do same sex married couples have to file jointly because of this ruling? or are they just permitted to?
posted by sweltering at 1:55 PM on August 29, 2013


Same as everyone else, they can choose to file either jointly or married filing separately.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 1:58 PM on August 29, 2013


ahh, imprecise question. What I mean is do same sex married couple have to file as if they are married because of this ruling (even in a state that doesn't honor their marriage)? Or are they just permitted to? (I can think of cases where they might not want to file as if they are married, such as in the case of being married in a state that doesn't honor their marriage where their tax burden would be higher.)
posted by sweltering at 2:06 PM on August 29, 2013


What therefore the IRS hath joined together, let no man put asunder.
posted by orange swan at 2:08 PM on August 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Straight couples don't have to file jointly, it's just advantageous to do it most of the time, so I imagine it'd be the same for gay couples.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:32 PM on August 29, 2013


sweltering, I think for federal purposes same-sex married couples will have to file either jointly or married filing separately (and cannot file as single) because the ruling makes the definitions of "spouse,""marriage," "husband," and "wife," apply equally to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples wherever they appear in the tax code, and the rule for opposite-sex couples has been that they have to file under one of those categories.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 2:32 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


> I have never filed taxes jointly, so how does that work? Do you just put in "I'm John and my spouse is Jim and his social security number is blahdeblah" and the magical IRS computers figure this all out? Or is there some other proof of marriage that's required?

Mr Corpse (a man) and I (a woman) have been filing jointly for 15 years and have never had to prove we're married (we are), and we have different last names. I'm the taxpayer, he's the spouse, oh yeaaah.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:42 PM on August 29, 2013


The filing thing: so rtha and I are legally married in the State of California (and have been since 2008) so we must file our state taxes as married. Up until the overturning of DOMA, we were NOT married at the federal level, and so had to file our taxes as single. The extra-special hell is that CA is a community property state, so our income HAD to be considered jointly, even for that federal single filing. So I would have to add up our income and divide it in half, and put that new amount down on our 1040, but of course that bore no relation to the W2s we had from our employers. That then triggered the inability to file electronically.

Unfortunately, I think this decision may be forcing that in reverse on people in states that don't recognize their marriages? That they will have to file federally as married and with their state as single?

Straight married couples can file jointly or separately, but have to state that they are married. They can't (legally) file as "single" if they are in fact married.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:05 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Here's the IRS FAQ on it.
posted by gingerbeer at 3:30 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"as a guy, I personally like being a guy"

Ladies and gentleman: the Republican party.

We are now going to pay about $1k less in federal taxes this year. While I am happy to be paying less I am more happy we are no longer paying for the privilege of being discriminated against.

Don't forget to re-file for previous years!
posted by atrazine at 3:32 PM on August 29, 2013


!
posted by Jacqueline at 3:34 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


@griphus The documentation and database overhaul is probably far more complicated than simply commenting out the rule not letting two men or two women be married; see Gay marriage: the database engineering perspective
posted by eigenman at 3:53 PM on August 29, 2013


""I personally like being a guy"? Does Lonegan believe gay men aren't actually "guys"?"

Somebody needs the Tom of Finland treatment.
posted by klangklangston at 4:07 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]



Straight couples don't have to file jointly

they do have to file as married, whether filing joint or separate. very different rules - more disadvantageous rules - apply to married filing separate v. single.
posted by jpe at 4:11 PM on August 29, 2013



"Couples with marriage bonuses far outnumber those incurring marriage penalties."


the source they cite says that 52% get a bonus, 6% are unimpacted, and 42% have a penalty. thanks to W, the marriage penalty has decreased, but the TPC neither accounts for nor references that change in the tax code.

CW is that the marriage penalty will hit gay couples harder, since it tends to impact dual earner households.
posted by jpe at 4:22 PM on August 29, 2013


For many same-sex couples living in states that won't allow them to marry, but will allow them to register as domestic partners, the big difference that this will make is related to employee benefits. These benefits have been treated as taxable income by the IRS until now, which means that an employee with domestic partner health insurance coverage has had a really big chunk taken out of their take-home pay that a married individual doesn't face. (At my university, this amounts to about half of a grad student TA's monthly salary--like I said, a really big chunk.)

I don't know if in states like mine that ban same-sex marriage, this hit in take-home salary will be eliminated altogether, or if states will make a move to ensure DP benefits are treated as income for state tax benefits. In any case, it will be a relief, full or partial, of this disparity.

What is not really addressed is how the IRS will deal with situations involving couples in which one or both partners is/are trans*. I am a trans man married to a trans woman, and like many trans* people, our legal sexes differ according to the rules of various states, so we are considered a same-sex couple in some states, and a mixed-sex couple in others. (Yes, this is effed up.) We were married in a state that only permitted mixed-sex couples to marry at the time we got hitched. If we live in a state that considers us a same-sex couple and bans same-sex marriage (these two conditions being true in a majority of states), do we get to file joint Federal taxes, since we were legally married elsewhere? Or can we not do this, because we were not married as a same-sex couple?
posted by DrMew at 5:19 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Don't forget to re-file for previous years!

I wish we could. We are getting married on Saturday across the Columbia in Washington. Portland area MeFis are welcome to the BBQ after.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:16 PM on August 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


Congratulations, munchingzombie and spouse to be!
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:42 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Judging by the various introvert threads, if a gaggle of vaguely librarian looking people turn up and stay far away from the socializing petting whatever cats will be in the area, that'll be the MeFites. (Congrats!)
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:11 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


*Please note, the following comment is somewhat off-topic, but is helpful for those in a same-sex marriage. Think of it as a PSA. Apologies for the minor derail in advance.*

If you and your spouse are moving into a state that doesn't recognize SSM and one of the spouses took the last name of the other spouse, call a DMV in that state about what documents you will need to switch your licenses over to that state, and ask about what documents they won't accept. For example, here are the requirements for getting a Tennessee driver's license. Note that it lists "Proof of US Citizenship", which, for most of you moving from one US state to another, is your US Government Issued Birth Certificate (they will not accept the birth certificates issued by a hospital). It also lists "Proof of Name Change", which is the legal document that changed your name (Court order, marriage certificate, divorce decree will work. Simply having an Social Security Card or a non-Tennessee driver's license with your married name on it won't work).

Same-sex marriage certificates are not honored at Tennessee DMVs, so if your only "Proof of Name Change" is your SS marriage certificate, you will not be able to get a TN driver's license.

There are some work-arounds I have been able to figure out. One, even if you already have a marriage certificate, get another court order indicating the name change. Two, if you already have a valid US Passport, change your name on that document (US Passports can be used instead of a Birth Certificate as "Proof of US Citizenship"). Is this a pain in the ass? Yes. But better to know now than be stuck in Tennessee without a valid license.

*Final note: I know this because I do business with a DL Service Center in Tennessee and have spoken to the Branch Manager about it. I don't know if this is explicit state policy, or just their own extrapolation. Either way, call in advance.*
posted by Groundhog Week at 7:17 PM on August 29, 2013


How, exactly, is this the IRS's decision to make? Even if you agree with the result, shouldn't it be Congress that decides? Have we completely abandoned the idea of three coequal branches of government and instead moved to an imperial executive branch that does whatever the hell it wants?

I fear that. Maybe it's fulfilling liberal wet dreams today, but it doesn't have to stay that way. I prefer "checks and balance", however old fashioned that may sound.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:20 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


How, exactly, is this the IRS's decision to make? Even if you agree with the result, shouldn't it be Congress that decides?

Is there any likelihood of that actually happening before January 2015?

Right now, the House's answer to what the IRS should do with respect to the filing status of same-sex couples in states that don't recognize their marriages is "let's repeal Obamacare." Which is great if you're a dadaist, but not so great if you're an American.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:26 PM on August 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


How, exactly, is this the IRS's decision to make? Even if you agree with the result, shouldn't it be Congress that decides? Have we completely abandoned the idea of three coequal branches of government and instead moved to an imperial executive branch that does whatever the hell it wants?

Very often Congress paints its laws in broad strokes, and leaves it to the Executive Branch agencies tasked with enforcing them to to flesh out the details. You may object to that on principle, but it's by no means a new thing. Take a look at the Federal Register sometime — you'll see all kinds of proposed regulations (the agency seeking public comment) and final regulations where they're doing exactly that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:45 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I personally like... a guy." — Steve Lonegan
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:47 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I could drive with the partner...

Minor derail but this has been the only adjustment I've had to make since SSM was recognized and the law took effect here in MN (I'm a straight male). I'm used to hearing people refer to their "partner" but I still do a bit of a double-take when I hear a guy refer to their husband or a woman refer to their wife.

Its like that weird period just after you get married when you talk about your fianc...ah...I mean wife/husband. Except now everyone is doing that same mental check with you.
posted by VTX at 7:52 PM on August 29, 2013


DevilsAdvocate, in this case there isn't even a "broad stroke".
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 7:53 PM on August 29, 2013


"How, exactly, is this the IRS's decision to make? Even if you agree with the result, shouldn't it be Congress that decides? Have we completely abandoned the idea of three coequal branches of government and instead moved to an imperial executive branch that does whatever the hell it wants?

I fear that. Maybe it's fulfilling liberal wet dreams today, but it doesn't have to stay that way. I prefer "checks and balance", however old fashioned that may sound.


Uh, this is a weird complaint. The history of this decision goes like this: Hawaii flirts with marriage for same-sex couples, and Congress reacts with the Defense of Marriage Act. Then there's a constitutional check on congressional power with the Windsor decision. At that point, the executive branch is required to adapt its procedures to comport with that ruling from the Supreme Court. As Congress is constitutionally precluded from making a law that treats same-sex couples differently, they're out of the game.

So, if you're all het up about checks and balances, take it up with John Marshall.
posted by klangklangston at 7:54 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Congress doesn't have the power to decide who can marry who else.

But Congress surely does have the power to decide who to tax, and how much, and the 14th Amendment "equal protection" clause does not apply. The 16th Amendment:

"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration."

If the "equal protection" clause applied, Progressive income taxes would be unconstitutional.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:03 PM on August 29, 2013


DevilsAdvocate, in this case there isn't even a "broad stroke".

In this case, the broad stroke came from the Supreme Court, not from Congress, but the idea that the Executive Branch agency has to flesh out the details remains. That's not a new thing either. When SCOTUS ruled genes could not be patented in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, the USPTO shortly after issued new instructions to its examiners to take that into account—and because the decision isn't actually as simple as "genes can't be patented," USPTO had to fill in the gaps and uncertainties as best it could. Which it did without having to consult either Congress or SCOTUS. And if someone feels the new USPTO guidelines don't comply with the law, they can challenge those in court too. But until then, yes, the Executive Branch is filling in the details which SCOTUS or Congress has left up to them.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:09 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


But this isn't about whether or not gay couples pay taxes, but in how they pay them. Gay couples already pay state and Federal income tax. It seems not-at-all-weird to me that a regulatory body would be the one to actually figure out how the law is applied once the law is the law.

Congress can't tell the states (anymore) "thou shalt not marry any gays." Why would they get a say in determining whom the IRS considers married for Federal taxation purposes when certain states say "Yup, they're married, we married them"?
posted by rtha at 8:11 PM on August 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Congress has virtually unlimited power to decide how much income tax everyone should pay. Filing as "Married" changes the effective tax rate.

Congress could say, "Even though you, Massachusetts, recognize this marriage, we, the US Congress, choose not to reduce their taxes." I hope they don't say that, but it's Congress's decision to make, not the executive's. (The executive is not mentioned in the 16th Amendment.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:24 PM on August 29, 2013


Let me make something crystal clear: I like this result. I hate the way we got to it.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:24 PM on August 29, 2013


God, this is so fucking weird.

Sometimes I'm just flabbergasted at where we're at right now. When I was a Queer Nation teenager I couldn't have imagined ever even having a realistic discussion about the possiblity of gay marriage. It was completely off the table out of the radar screen unimaginable to me. Sure, it was also not part of my political agenda as a Radical Queer Youth TM, but I mean, any normal person would have thought full citizenship for all citizens would have been a good thing.

Anyway, it's just crazy sometimes, crazy, that we are now normal.
posted by latkes at 8:37 PM on August 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Makes me think of this Crooked Timber post today, about how moral revolutions happen and how we don't see them coming.
posted by latkes at 8:38 PM on August 29, 2013


Congress could say, "Even though you, Massachusetts, recognize this marriage, we, the US Congress, choose not to reduce their taxes."

This would violate equal protection which is where DOMA died. What makes you think it would be any different?
posted by mistersquid at 9:17 PM on August 29, 2013


"Congress has virtually unlimited power to decide how much income tax everyone should pay. Filing as "Married" changes the effective tax rate.

Congress could say, "Even though you, Massachusetts, recognize this marriage, we, the US Congress, choose not to reduce their taxes." I hope they don't say that, but it's Congress's decision to make, not the executive's. (The executive is not mentioned in the 16th Amendment.)
"

Congress could not make a law with respect to taxes where married couples are not treated equally. They really could not say that, not and have it pass court challenges. Just like it could not make a law that said that black people have to pay more taxes, even if they came up with some sort of jiggery-pokery about how black people cost taxpayers more or some such shit.

Areas of executive overreach: Domestic spying, drone attacks, torture.

Not an area of executive overreach: Bringing the process of an executive agency into alignment with a Supreme Court decision on the limits of Congress to construct an inequitable tax policy by law. That they may have virtually unlimited power does not mean that the have this specific power.
posted by klangklangston at 9:52 PM on August 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Congress could say, "Even though you, Massachusetts, recognize this marriage, we, the US Congress, choose not to reduce their taxes." I hope they don't say that, but it's Congress's decision to make, not the executive's. (The executive is not mentioned in the 16th Amendment.)

No it can't. That was the entire point of the Windsor decision: Congress cannot make a law that discriminates on the basis of same-sex versus opposite-sex marriages.

And beyond that: current federal tax law simply does not specify gender. When DOMA was struck down, who is and who is not married became a matter to be determined by the states. This is simply a bureaucratic action implementing that fact.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:59 PM on August 29, 2013


Congress has virtually unlimited power to decide how much income tax everyone should pay.

And this is utter nonsense. Congress must obey the constitution. It cannot violate equal protection. It cannot issue a bill of attainder. This radically limits its power to control how much income tax everyone must pay--it requires, essentially, fairness. The same rules must apply to everyone. The Windsor decision means that "everyone" includes same-sex married couples.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:05 PM on August 29, 2013


This would violate equal protection which is where DOMA died. What makes you think it would be any different?

The 16th Amendment came after the 14th Amendment, and the 16th Amendment has a bunch of waivers in it overriding earlier "equal protection"clauses. In general, later amendments override earlier amendments if they come into conflict. The "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment does not apply to the income tax.

If it did, then anything other than a flat tax would be unconstitutional.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:43 PM on August 29, 2013


The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

Where does it say the 5th amendment doesn't apply? (It would be the 5th because the 14th applies to the states.)
posted by Area Man at 11:14 PM on August 29, 2013




The 16th Amendment came after the 14th Amendment, and the 16th Amendment has a bunch of waivers in it overriding earlier "equal protection"clauses.



the normal rule of interpretation is that more specific provisions control are not deleted or overturrned by more general subsequent legislation or amendment. the prior rule must be specifically called out and overturned. (and you'll note that it makes no reference at all to equal protection or the 14th amendment. I'm guessing you were thinking of the apportionment clause when you referenced "waivers")

so the enactment of the power to tax doesn't destroy or alter the equal protection clause: we couldn't, say, impose a 5% surtax on black people, because the 16th amendment didn't overturn the 14th.

same thing here: the Court said that the income tax must comport with the 14th amendment, and the IRS is now implementing it. importantly, they must implement it, and they have no choice but to resolve the ambiguities in the decision. if congress wants to overrule the IRS, they retain the power to do so.
posted by jpe at 5:06 AM on August 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wonder what the IRS did when anti-miscegenation laws were still in place. If a mixed-race couple got married in New York but then moved to Virginia, did Congress have to step in to tell the IRS whether or not the couple was considered married, for tax purposes?
posted by rtha at 5:26 AM on August 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Obama Administration.
posted by Mick at 5:36 AM on August 30, 2013


"The 16th Amendment came after the 14th Amendment, and the 16th Amendment has a bunch of waivers in it overriding earlier "equal protection"clauses. In general, later amendments override earlier amendments if they come into conflict. The "equal protection" clause of the 14th Amendment does not apply to the income tax.

If it did, then anything other than a flat tax would be unconstitutional.
"

The idea that "and without regard to any census or enumeration" overrules the Equal Protection clause is totally bizarre, and the idea that only a flat tax would be allowed is ahistorical nonsense. Graduated taxes were allowed, provided that they were apportioned back to the states on the basis of population.

This is a tax theory that could only be taken seriously by Wesley Snipes.
posted by klangklangston at 10:49 AM on August 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will become the first Supreme Court member to conduct a same-sex marriage ceremony Saturday when she officiates at the Washington wedding of Kennedy Center President Michael M. Kaiser.
posted by homunculus at 6:59 PM on August 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


Good on you IRS.
posted by Gygesringtone at 9:18 PM on August 30, 2013


A pretty decent "what just happened and what will it mean for my taxes this year" type article from Autostraddle.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 9:14 PM on September 4, 2013


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