Filing Federal Tax Returns
There are many difficulties inherent in filing federal tax returns for same sex couples. Even in states where gay marriage has been legalized, issues abound. Because of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) even when a state legalizes gay marriage, it isn’t recognized on a federal level. As a result, filing taxes jointly, like most married couples around the country do, is not possible for a same-sex couple. Many same-sex couples go to tax agencies to make sense out of the complicated mess that their taxes have become. These tax agencies often offer free federal tax filing and give couples a sense of surety that they are getting the most out of their tax return that they possibly can.
Since the legalization of gay marriage, many couples have tried to do their own taxes, because it is basically free federal tax filing. Some have even succeeded. Unfortunately, for many, it is too confusing to do properly and they end up getting shorted or worse, making mistakes that will cost them money later. Filing jointly is not an option but head of household may be, as long as one partner makes more than half the cost of the household’s upkeep and has a “qualifying” person living with them (such as a child or elderly relative). It only gets more complicated from there, as gay marriage defines more than 130,000 couples in the US, from all classes and economic backgrounds.