wedded bliss canít dull the sting of tax season.
the state wonít recognize your marriage, thereís
nothing easy about a Form 1040.
DeSchepper and Paula Talley have been a couple for 10
years. When the U.S. Supreme Court last summer struck
down the federal ban on same-sex marriage, they went to
Iowa for a state-sanctioned marriage.
high courtís decision carried tax implications for
them. For the first time in history, legally married
same-sex couples could file their federal taxes jointly.
was a cause for celebration, DeSchepper said. After
that, things got messy.
pair live in Missouri and work in Kansas, two states
that donít legally sanction same-sex marriages. That
forced them to navigate tax season with hassles and
expenses they had never experienced.
Crouch, the owner of Strategic Accounting Solutions,
said such couples face the prospect of ultimately
filling out at least five returns ó two separate state
returns, one joint federal return and two separate
federal returns. The last two will never get filed, but
they form the basis of individual state returns.
have to not only have the money to pay a professional to
do this for you, but you have to track down a
professional who knows how to do it," Crouch said.
"Itís not an easy process."
said he expects many couples will simply lie and file as
individuals because they either canít afford an
accountant or find one to work with.
tax code is supposed to be applied equally to
everyone," he said. "Thatís not happening
process is much simpler in Missouri, despite the stateís
constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
year, Gov. Jay Nixon issued an executive order allowing
legally married same-sex couples to file joint state tax
returns even though the state doesnít recognize their
relationships. Some legislators have replied with a
long-shot effort to impeach Nixon.
action relieved part of the stress for DeSchapper and
Talley, but because they work in Kansas, they still had
to file in that state.
tried to use TurboTax, like Iíve done in the past, but
it got incredibly complicated," DeSchepper said.
"I even called TurboTax for help, and the person I
spoke with suggested I consult with a tax
ultimately took an accountant two weeks to prepare their
taxes, DeSchepper said. The couple filed jointly for
federal and Missouri taxes, but each had to each file as
single in Kansas.
were just so many hoops we had to jump through,"
Lamoreaux and Kendra Tinsley live in Topeka, Kan., with
their son and were married in August 2012 in
Massachusetts. They knew their taxes would be
complicated and were nervous about getting audited. So
they decided to rely on a CPA this year.
spent a few weeks trying to find an accountant who could
help us," Tinsley said. "The nearest one we
could find that was recommended to us was in Kansas
City. We both work during the day, and we have a child,
so that just wouldnít work."
eventually got a recommendation from a friend for an
accountant who agreed to take on the job ó the first
couple in this situation that he had worked with.
only were we dealing with the unknown ourselves, but our
accountant was dealing with unknowns as well,"
said she expects the entire process could end up costing
"maybe as much as $400."
patchwork of laws is "a wonderful payday for tax
accountants and lawyers, but incredibly difficult and
frustrating for legally married couples who just want to
file their taxes," said Marc Solomon, national
campaign director for the advocacy group Freedom to
some cases, couples will benefit from filing jointly at
the state level, Crouch said. But not always.
they own stock investments and have a capital loss, for
example, filing separately may result in paying less in
state taxes, Crouch said.
depends on the nature of the items on the tax
returns," he said.
in 2004 became the first state to enact a constitutional
amendment prohibiting same-sex marriage after the
Massachusetts Supreme Court permitted gay marriage in
that state. Missourians approved the ban with 70 percent
of the vote.
group representing the Missouri Baptist Convention
Christian Life Commission and the Missouri Family Policy
Council filed a lawsuit last year challenging Nixonís
executive order on the grounds that it violates that
this month, the group argued in front of Cole County
Judge Jon Beetem for a temporary restraining order to
prohibit Missouri from accepting joint state tax returns
by married same-sex couples living in Missouri. It took
less than a day for the judge to deny the restraining
executive order also inspired state Rep. Nick Marshall,
a Republican, to file articles of impeachment against
Nixon, a Democrat. Stanley Cox, a Republican and the
chairman of the Missouri House Judiciary Committee, said
he expects to hold a hearing on impeachment before the
legislative session ends in May.
the hassles and the headaches surrounding their taxes
this year, Lamoreaux says it represents progress toward
equality for same-sex couples.
does open a dialogue, and it makes people sit back and
think about what the real implications are of treating
people differently," she said. "Any
opportunity to further discussion and bring people
together around common issues ó like parenting, taxes,
down to who makes dinner at night ó those are all
mundane conversations, but they are important