News

Same-sex marriage ruling means tax benefits too

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | Jun 2, 2014 4:37 AM
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(Lancaster) -- The recent court decision striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage has brought joy to thousands who had been waiting to commit to their partners.

It can also bring a financial benefit to couples.

Same sex couples who get married will be able to file a joint federal income tax return, which on its own, could reduce their tax liability.

But, they also will be able to go back as many as three years and change tax returns if it means a refund.

"There's a possibility for same-sex couples to amend returns in prior years that are still open and claim refunds," says Darren Finn, tax principal at Simon Lever.

"If they are in that situation where they either had benefits that came out after tax that should be now pre-tax because they're a married couple or they're in that place where there's a disparity in brackets."

He says it’s the result of the U.S. vs Windsor decision by the Supreme Court in 2013.

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He says with both decisions tax returns for same-sex couples get easier, since they no longer have to figure out who should take the deduction available for those paying mortgages.

"Now you're just filing a joint return, so it doesn't matter. And then you also get the benefit of the lower bracket, and to the extent that you're on your spouse's health care, it will be using pre-tax dollars."

But, there won't be any difference for state income tax, since Pennsylvania has a flat rate.

Finn says companies may have to adjust their health care policies to make sure it covers same-sex spouses as well.

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