Complex tax process for same-sex couples could change
While same-sex couples achieved a victory when New York passed the Marriage Equality Act, they face ongoing challenges in everyday life - even when filing their taxes. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us how federal law makes it a complex process, but it could change in time for next season.
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BUFFALO, N.Y. -- They were the first same-sex couple legally married in New York State, but Cheryle and Kitty Lambert-Rudd say there are aspects of married life that still aren't equal.
"It costs us more to file the taxes, but it also costs us more in taxes," said Kitty Lambert-Rudd.
"Because of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal law, the federal government doesn't recognize those marriages," said Heidi Jones, co-owner of Allen Street Consulting.
Heidi Jones and her business partner specialize in business and personal income taxes, and say the Defense of Marriage Act makes it a complex process.
"A married, same-sex couple has to draft a fake, federal return as married, filing joint, and then they use those numbers to create their New York State return, married, filling joint," said Jones.
Then, Jones says they throw out that federal return and create two separate ones, filing individually. She says it obviously creates more opportunity for error.
"I do recommend that couples seek professional assistance in preparing these returns, because it is much more complicated."
And Jones says it's an economic issue, too.
"One of our clients last year, we had drafted the fake, federal return and when you compare that fake federal return to their actual, separate returns, they would have benefited by over $1,000 by being able to file married, filing joint," said Jones.
"As gay Americans, we want to pay our fair share, but like every other American, we don't want to have to pay more than we have to," said Kitty Lambert-Rudd.
But Jones says it could all change by the time next year's taxes are due.
"This area of law and tax is really unsettled at the moment, because the Defense of Marriage Act is being reviewed by the Supreme Court. The oral arguments are March 27."
"We're praying that the supreme court resolves this," said Kitty Lambert-Rudd.