Federal Tax Update and Michigan Tax Update for Same-Sex Spouses

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Written by:  Mieke V. Weissert

In light of the United States Supreme Court decision, U.S. v Windsor, the government has taken action to recognize same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes.  On August 29, 2013 it was ruled by The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service that same-sex couples who are legally married in jurisdictions that recognize same-sex marriages will be given treatment as married for federal tax purposes.  The effective date of the ruling is September 16, 2013.  This ruling applies also to same-sex couples who are legally married, but live in a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage, such as Michigan.  For example, same-sex spouses living in Michigan that were married in California (a state that recognizes same-sex marriages) can file their federal tax returns with their filing status as married.

Same-sex spouses will also be able to file amended federal tax returns for tax years 2012 and prior to update their filing status to married.  Generally, taxpayers have three (3) years from the date of filing, or two (2) years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later, to file an amended return.  Same-sex spouses will be treated as married for all purposes under federal tax laws, including income, gift and estate taxes.

Although federal income tax filings for same-sex spouses have changed, same-sex spouses filing income tax returns for Michigan, must continue to file with each individual in the same-sex marriage using the single filing status.  Same-sex spouses who have earned income in Michigan, and who have filed a joint income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service as a same-sex married couple, must separately report their adjusted gross income for Michigan income tax purposes under the single filing status.  The state of Michigan will provide a worksheet on its website that same-sex spouses who must file income taxes as single in Michigan can use to recalculate income from the federal married status to the Michigan single filing status.

If you have any questions relating to your issues involving tax law, estate planning, or family law please call one of our attorneys in any one of our Tax Law, Estate Planning and Probate or Family Law practice groups.

Posted in: Business/Taxes, Family Law / Estate Planning

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