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"Married Filing Jointly": A New Frontier for CO Same-Sex Couples

December 30, 2013

DENVER - With the year drawing to a close, tax time is just around the corner, and this year same-sex married couples in Colorado and beyond will be navigating through uncharted territory with the IRS. The overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act by the Supreme Court and of California's Proposition 8 opened the door for LGBT couples to have their marriages recognized by the IRS, and according to Mindy Barton, legal director for the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, this is not the year for do-it-yourself taxes for those individuals.

"So the key thing that we're looking at is making sure that individuals have access to LGBT-friendly tax advisers who can sit down with them and review the different changes to see what will work best for that individual household."

Although same-sex marriage is not legal in Colorado, earlier this year the IRS said it would recognize the "place of celebration" of a couple's marriage, rather than the state they live in. What's not clear yet, explained Barton, is how Colorado state taxes should be filed by same-sex married couples. She expects state lawmakers to clarify that after the first of the year.

Barton noted that while the ability to file taxes as a married couple is something same-sex partners are celebrating, it may not make sense for them financially to actually do so.

"For some couples, it may be a good idea to go back and file those amended joint returns. For others there may be tax consequences that show that it's not a good thing, it doesn't actually recoup any potential money for them. "

Same-sex married couples can file amended tax returns up to three years back. The GLBT Center of Colorado has a list of tax professionals versed in laws pertaining to same-sex couples.

The GLBT Community Center of Colorado's legal helpline is 303-282-6524.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - CO