Idaho Aims to Make Gay Couples Recalculate Taxes

2013-10-03T14:01:00Z Idaho Aims to Make Gay Couples Recalculate TaxesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
October 03, 2013 2:01 pm  • 

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho aims to require same-sex couples who are legally married elsewhere but live in Idaho to recalculate their federal Internal Revenue Service filings before filing their state taxes, potentially forcing them to do more work than married couples of the opposite sex to comply with state law.

Tax Commission spokeswoman Liz Rodosovich said Thursday the agency altered its 2013 income tax forms following June's U.S. Supreme Court decision invalidating parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. That prompted the IRS to rule same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.

Idaho is among 35 states that forbid same-sex unions, following a constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2006.

Its new tax instructions are meant to inform people who have been legally married in one of the 14 states that allow same-sex marriages, but are required to file income tax returns in Idaho, that they may have extra bookkeeping before filing their Idaho income taxes.

"In the past, Forms 40 (full-year resident) and 43 (part-year resident) have included a line saying that the taxpayer needs to use the same filing status for Idaho as on the federal return,'' Rodosovich told The Associated Press in an e-mail. "That language has been removed.''

Idaho's new rules require that those who file a joint federal return as a same-sex couple must file an Idaho return as a single people or, if they qualify, head of household.

Then, they must recalculate their federal tax return, as if they'd used single or head of household status.

Only then should they file their return with the state, making sure they include their recomputed federal return for Idaho Tax Commission auditors to review.

"Your Idaho filing status must be the same as the filing status used on your federal return,'' according to draft instructions posted on the Idaho Tax Commission's website. "This requirement does not apply to same sex couples who file a joint federal return; the State of Idaho does not recognize same sex marriages.''

Monica Hopkins, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Idaho, didn't immediately return a phone call.

In the landmark Supreme Court case, an 84-year-old woman legally married in New York had sued the federal government after the IRS cited the Defense of Marriage Act to deny her refund request for the $363,000 in federal estate taxes she'd paid following her spouse's death.

In the narrow 5-4 decision, the justices decided that violated the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment.

Following the ruling, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said he didn't anticipate it would have much impact on state laws like Idaho's constitutional same-sex union ban.

Wasden wasn't immediately available to comment on the Idaho Tax Commission's new instructions or whether the state could be vulnerable to a challenge from somebody who objects to being required to recalculate their taxes.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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