Domestic Partner Benefits

Today TaxMama hears from PS from California in the TaxQuips Forum, with this question. “Prior to getting married, my girlfriend had me on her medical benefits through her employer because it was significantly less than through my work.  The benefits I received are considered “income” by Federal govt and are actually added to her taxable wages.  In California, the state does not tax partner benefits; the partner benefits are not included in state wages. We got married at the end of 2009.  According to the IRS, the marital status as of Dec 31 is the marriage status for the whole year.  So, should her employer amend her W2 to take off all the taxable partner benefits for ALL of 2009?  In essence, should they redo her wages and benefits to treat her as married for the whole year?  I have not been able to find any IRS documents or reference in a case like this.”

Dear PS,

Congratulations on finally being able to get married.  (At the end of last year? In California? I thought that ended earlier…hmmm…)

Unfortunately, IRS and the federal government do not recognize same-sex marriages. Sadly, with the failure of the group to get enough signatures, same-sex marriage won’t be back on the California ballots this year, either.  That may be why you can’t find an IRS reference.

I do hope you understand how complex your tax returns will be.  For California, you’re married.  For IRS you’re single (or head of household if there is a child).

You will have to be sure to separate out assets and related income and expenses based on title (who owns it) when you do your IRS return. You won’t just be able to split income and expenses in half. Much of this can be extremely unfair.

Read this 2007 article for some of the tax issues you face.  Naturally, some laws have changed since then. But the nature of the issues remain the same.  This is definitely one set of tax returns for experienced pros!

 Take good care of each other.

And remember, you can find answers to all kinds of questions same-sex marriages other tax issues, free. Where? Where else? At

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