Greetings and CONGRATULATIONS to all of the newlywed, first-time joint filers out there!

Getting married means becoming eligible for a whole slew of tax break opportunities! Woo hoo! Taking advantage of all the tax write-offs you have access to just for being part of a married couple just makes good financial sense!

Generally speaking, joint tax returns are superior to single tax returns. The IRS encourages wedded couples to opt for a joint tax return by extending several benefits to those who file together including a significant standard deduction for those who choose not to itemize as well as higher income thresholds for certain more specific deductions. Couples with children who file together may qualify for even more exclusions and credits from the government and usually have a much easier time claiming dependents. All good things.

With the nice perks that come from a Married Filing Jointly (MFJ) tax status, filing separately seldom makes more sense for any married couple. Fortunately and FINALLY, our nation now recognizes ALL married couples hoping to file a return together. Back in August 2013, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional. Even for Tax Year 2012, many gay couples were able to file taxes together regardless of where they live.

Plenty of LGBT couples now feel like they’ve gotten a hang of the whole federal MFJ shebang. But a qualified tax accountant can still help you and your spouse out if you’re new to Georgia, new to the type of tax forms you’ve got this year or looking to start keeping a closer eye on your yearly income.

In summary, by federal standards, joint tax returns for gay couples are totally a-ok. So you’re probably wondering… what about the state return?

The demise of DOMA was a great day for marriage equality, of course, but it didn’t totally erase the act’s effects on local tax law. To put it simply, the federal government will gladly accept your MFJ or MFS tax returns…. But the State of Georgia is a whole other story.

Despite all the marriage equality progress being made each year, as of today, the Constitution of Georgia continues to prohibit same-sex marriage. Sadly, if you’re 1. gay, 2. married and 3. lived in Georgia last year, you’ll have to file individually for your Georgia tax return after filing as a couple on the national return.

This probably sounds like a hassle but the process really isn’t nearly as bad when you’ve got a real tax expert like #thetaxheiress going through it with you! I am very familiar with some of the issues that come up because our state has chosen not recognize ALL marriages like pretax benefit penalties, who should claim the kids or mortgage interest…the list goes on and on. I am your girl and am happy to show you how to navigate the confusion… Honey, marriage is hard work enough without adding a tangle of tax problems to the mix!

Smooches,

Buffie the Tax Heiress