Reaping the benefits of marriage equality

Same sex couples have more than marriage equality to be thankful for with the recent United States Supreme court ruling – it also comes with financial benefits that can save them thousands of dollars on taxes.

When gay or lesbian couples marry, they will now be able to enjoy the rights and benefits experienced by any other couple. Depending on the income between the two individuals, their taxes could go up or down.

As an example, a person earning $70,000 and his partner $30,000, will have their tax bracket falling at $19,000 if filed separately vs. $12,000 if filed jointly. There may be instances where the joint filing brings them to pay higher taxes, but other social insurance and medical benefits will offset the disadvantage.

John Singh and Jeff Watson have been domestic partners for 12 years, and they could not get any happier than the opportunities opened for them. The IRS now recognizes California same-sex marriages and is already allowing these couples to file taxes jointly.

Before the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, same sex couples could only file taxes as domestic partners which only confused the IRS.  Once, Jeff Watson received notices from the IRS informing him of thousands of debt in self-employment taxes. But he wasn’t self-employed – his partner Jeff Singh was.

To date, specifics on joint filing of taxes are still being worked on by the federal government. As Jeff Watson pointed out, “once we have more clarity on that, we’ll probably be able to make a more informed decision.”