Same-Sex Marriage Law in Maine Will Impact Tax Filing Status

By Merrill Barter, Tax Director
December 2012

Effective December 29, Maine becomes the 9th state to legalize same-sex marriage.  Marriage licenses may be issued on this date, and the marriages of couples legally married in other states will be legally recognized in Maine.  This could create some complexities for Maine income tax purposes, because married same-sex couples are forced to use different filing statuses for federal and Maine returns. 

For Maine tax purposes, the marriage is recognized, and therefore married taxpayers must file their Maine tax return(s) using a filing status of either “married filing joint” or “married filing separately.” However, the IRS does not recognize same-sex marriages for purposes of federal tax filings (regardless of whether their home state allows it), and therefore the taxpayers must file as “single” or “head of household,” whichever is appropriate.  From a practical perspective, the filing of a Maine return will involve an additional step:  The preparation of a pro-forma federal return, to attach to the Maine return to show what the federal return would have looked like if filed using the filing status called for by the state.

For more information on the state and federal rules, please refer to the following links.

www.maine.gov/revenue/publications/alerts/2012/TADec12_Vol22_Iss11.pdf.
http://www.irs.gov/uac/Answers-to-Frequently-Asked-Questions-for-Same-Sex-Couples

If you have any questions regarding these rules, please contact Merrill Barter or your BNN tax advisor at 1-800-244-7444.

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