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Marriage (Tax) Basics

By Kathy Burlison

The tax side of marriage is new territory for same sex couples. Some highlights that may be news to you:

  • If you are married as of December 31, you are treated as if you were married all year.
  • Federal income tax returns use married rules — no matter where you live, including states that don’t recognize marriages between same sex couples.
  • You can only file as married for years in which you are legally married – it doesn’t matter that you didn’t get married because the marriage wouldn’t have been recognized.
  • You might be able to get some money back if you were married before 2013.

So, how many couples give any thought to taxes when getting married? Not many! Nothing wrong with that—but it’s not a bad idea to learn a little about what marriage might mean for your taxes. With this in mind, this is the first in a series of blogs exploring how the tax effects of getting or being married.