Finance

Virginia to Treat Same-Sex Couples Differently Than IRS

December 2, 2013

Virginia may be for lovers, but for same-sex married couples who already had to go elsewhere to tie the knot, tax time could present new burdens.

The reason is a recent decision by Virginia’s tax collectors to treat gay couples differently than the IRS does.

The Virginia Department of Taxation, after consulting with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II’s office, has ruled that the state will not conform to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service’s new tax treatment of same-sex married couples because state law and a state constitutional amendment prohibit recognition of gay marriage.

As a result, gay couples must now file their federal tax returns as married couples — either jointly or separately — but will have to file Virginia tax returns as single individuals.

In a bulletin issued Nov. 8, the Department of Taxation noted that the decision could have an impact on deductions, exemptions and tax credits for low-income taxpayers. Businesses, too, could face additional hassles — and expense.

“In terms of the tax issue, Virginia’s got you coming and going as a same-sex couple,” said the Rev. Robin H. Gorsline, president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia. “You can’t win.”

The ACLU of Virginia saw the decision as reaffirmation of the state’s “ongoing hostility toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Virginians, including legally married same-sex couples.”

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