Supreme Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriages Nationwide

  1. Supreme Court Legalizes Same-sex Marriages Nationwide

    The U.S. Supreme Court held, in a landmark decision, that the Constitution requires a state to license marriages between same-sex couples. This ruling to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states has far-reaching consequences, including a number of important tax issues. Same-sex couples who are married in any state will now be able to file joint state tax returns, inherit property more easily, and receive Social Security and veterans’ spousal benefits. For federal tax purposes, legally married gay couples have been able to file joint income tax returns, elect to split gifts for gift tax, and claim the marital deduction for estate tax since the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Windsor. However, some states required same-sex couples to file separate state income tax returns, regardless of whether they were legally married in another state. [ Editor’s Note: Same-sex married couples should be able to amend their returns and file jointly to claim a refund (if entitled to one) for tax years that are still open.] Other areas likely to be impacted by this ruling include health and medical benefits. Obergefell v. Hodges, 115 AFTR 2d 2015-XXXX (Sup. Ct. 2015).

  2. IRS Issues Spring 2015 Statistics of Income Bulletin

    The Spring 2015 issue of the Statistics of Income Bulletin features preliminary data on 2013 individual income tax returns. Both Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and taxable income increased less than 1% over 2012, with total tax liability increasing 4.5%. The larger percentage increase in total income tax liability compared to AGI coincided with new higher marginal tax rates for ordinary income and certain capital gain income, as well as,, the new net investment income and additional Medicare taxes. In 2013, more than 66% of taxpayers claimed the standard deduction. Taxes and interest comprised 70% of all itemized deductions for 2013. The report also contains prior year’s data that indicates for 2012, almost half of all noncash charitable contributions went to foundations and large charitable organizations. Corporate stock (39.1%), clothing (21.8%), household items (8.7%), and other investments (8.3%) accounted for the largest percentages of noncash contributions reported on Schedule A. The report is available at www.irs.gov/uac/SOI-Tax-Stats-SOI-Bulletin:-Spring-2015.