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Can same-sex married couples in Iowa file joint federal 1040s?

March 11, 2011

Now that the Obama administration decided to not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the tax law from recognizing same sex marriages, the question arises: can Iowa's same-sex married couples file joint returns?

While the administration isn't defending DOMA, it still is statutory law that has not yet been overturned. This advice in the Smartmoney Tax Blog is sensible:

Because DOMA is still the law of the land (however weakly it might be enforced), a married same-sex couple is still considered unmarried for federal tax purposes. Therefore, for 2010, I advise same-sex married individuals to file separate federal returns as singles. Then to protect your tax position in the event that DOMA is overturned, consider filing an amended joint return for 2010 using Form 1040X. You also can consider filing amended joint returns for earlier tax years that are still "open" (a year is generally "open" for up to three years after the date you filed your Form 1040 for that year). Talk to your tax pro about the advisability of filing amended returns. The potential tax savings may or may not be worth the trouble.

As many traditional married couples can testify, being married isn't always a good thing at tax time. Two earner couples often have a higher tax burden filing joint returns than they would filing single returns.

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I don't believe the marriage penalty should be restricted to heterosexual couples.

I'm still waiting for a heterosexual couple to sue over a tax benefit denied to them under section 267 or something similar but which is available to a homosexual couple.

And that, Kevin, is our comment of the day!

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