Friday, December 30, 2011

The Downside of Living in a State with Marriage Equality

(The full title of this blog should actually read: "The downside of living in a state with marriage equality while DOMA is still the federal law of the land.")

This is the first year since our marriage that C and I have lived in a state with full marriage equality. This is far and away a good thing, but we have just discovered one very annoying downside: taxes.

Taxes have always been an issue for us and will continue to be until DOMA is repealed. Because DOMA prohibits the IRS from recognizing our marriage, we must file as individuals. Consequently, C and I pay more in federal taxes than we would if one of us owned a vagina.

But this has always been the case for us. There is nothing new along those lines this year.

What is new this year is a consequence of living in a state with full marriage equality. For the first time we find ourselves in that happy situation. But the conflict between Mass law and federal law gives rise to a puzzling amount of paperwork:

C and I must now generate three federal 1040s every year.

For the Feds we will file two individual 1040s. Then we will complete--but not file--a married 1040. The married federal 1040 we will file with Massachusetts along with the Commonwealth's married tax return.

This will be the requisite procedure until DOMA (or at least the portion of DOMA that prevents federal recognition of state marriages) is repealed. So not only will we continue to pay more in federal taxation than heterosexual couples, we will also have to file more paperwork.

Whine whine whine, right? I know, I know. Paperwork is a small price to pay for having our marriage recognized by the state in which we live. But one less set of paperwork is one more thing we are looking forward to once DOMA is history.


ModeratePoli said...

Welcome to Massachusetts. Sorry for the complication, but we're just a few decades ahead of other folks (and we're going to hell).

As for making your taxes easier, maybe it'll be somewhat easier if you use a software tax package. (I use TaxCutPro). If you start with the joint return, that might be the fastest.

Be sure the tax package lets you do multiple returns, which this one does. Sorry for the wonky answer. I'm afraid I'm a nerd.

D.J. Free! said...

I feel your pain, brother! Or at least, I hope I will in 2013 if our fine governor makes good on his promise to spearhead the gay marriage bill in MD :)


Joe Moderate said...

Hey thanks for the tip, ModeratePoli. And no need to apologize for wonkiness; we're all nerds here :-)

I think we are going to break down and get a tax accountant this year, as things are a bit extra-screwy due to moving into the state mid-year. We have each had two jobs this year, lived in two states this year, will need to file income tax in two states... I think it's going to be a bit complicated.

Joe Moderate said...

Happy 2012 to you too, DJ! We're looking forward to seeing you guys this year :-)