Virginia Department of Taxation Issues Guidance on Same-Sex Couple Returns
Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 30, 2014 – Legally married same-sex couples must file separate tax returns in Virginia.
Virginia may be for lovers but, according to a recent decision by the Virginia Department of Taxation, “lovers” may not include same-sex, married couples — especially those attempting to file a joint tax return. The state’s non-recognition of same-sex marriage for the commonwealth’s tax purposes will remain in force, even though LGBT couples are now permitted to file joint federal tax returns.
The Department of Taxation decision, which was announced on November 8, 2013, confers separate, parallel fiscal statuses for same-sex couples who married in states where same-sex marriage is legal but who now reside in Virginia (where same-sex marriage is not legal).
“Same-sex couples who married in New York, Massachusetts or other states where same-sex marriage is legal, but who have established residence in Virginia, need to be aware of this distinction in the commonwealth,” said Lisa McDevitt, a prominent Vienna and Fairfax estate planning and family law attorney. “They also need to be aware that they can still avail themselves of a joint return for federal filing purposes.”
The Department of Taxation announcement was necessary in the wake of the landmark case United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 2675 (2013). In Windsor, the Supreme Court ruled that the third section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.
The high court handed down its ruling in Windsor after a widow sought to claim the federal estate tax exemption for surviving spouses. The couple were legally married in Ontario, Canada, and then moved to New York, where one of them died. She left her entire estate to her surviving spouse. At the time the lawsuit was filed, same-sex marriage was not yet legal in New York state.
In practical terms, whenever a LGBT couple files a federal joint return, each person will have to recalculate their individual federal income tax liability — either as single or as head of household — when determining Virginia income tax liability. The Virginia-specific rules will also have potential tax consequences for businesses in the commonwealth.
“Those businesses in Virginia that deduct payments of fringe benefits to their employees’ same-sex spouses and to their dependents on their federal tax forms will have to adjust these deductions on their Virginia tax forms,” McDevitt said.
Lisa Lane McDevitt
2155 Bonaventure Drive
Vienna, VA 22181
Toll Free: 866-602-7850
- When filing for a divorce, finding fault is not always necessary
If there was ever an appropriate circumstance, divorce proceedings would seem a prime candidate for an exercise in finger-pointing. However, legally speaking, there are situations in which spouses parting ways should seek what is known as a no-fault divorce. Traditionally, some sort of misconduct has formed the grounds for a divorce. But modern divorce laws […]
- As circumstances change, ‘Last Will and Testament’ may not be final word on an estate
“Last Will and Testament” is a popular title for the document in which a person, known as a testator, names one or more people to manage his or her estate and provides for the distribution of his or her property after death. But when a person’s life circumstances change, a “Last Will and Testament” may […]
- When a couple divorces, debts as well as property must be equitably divided
Marriage can be likened to a business contract, and when that contract is dissolved during a divorce the division of assets is an important and often contentious matter. But debts are an equally important matter to resolve when any contract, including marriage, terminates, as any debts a couple holds will also be allocated between the […]
- IRS offers holiday season tidings on tax exclusions estate planners should remember
The holiday season upon us, meaning that the remainder of the year will see a significant amount of purchasing and bestowing gifts. The spirit of giving is not lost upon the federal government, particularly regarding those gifts with significant valuations, or those bequeathed by an estate. Accordingly, the Internal Revenue Service has announced its gift […]
- Parental communication helps pave the way for a reasonable visitation schedule
When couples with irreconcilable differences end their marriage through a divorce, the bonds between the spouses are effectively severed. Each party can proceed with his or her life separately. However, if a soon-to-be-splitting couple has children, some level of communication between the parents will necessarily linger, particularly once child custody has been determined and reasonable […]
- When spouses wish to part ways, the finality of divorce is usually best
As a popular culture would have us believe, breaking up is hard to do. With all the emotional and financial upheaval that is often involved with a nuptial parting of the ways, some on-the-rocks couples opt for what may seem to be the easier route of some form of separation. Despite the first-blush attractiveness of […]