SCOTUS Decision: The Financial Benefits For Married Same-Sex Couples

While most things about marriage have changed throughout human history, one thing remains true. No, not love: marriage for love is a modern innovation. Married couples have always been an economic unit, from ancient farms to modern condos. This morning’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages nationwide will have important effects on the finances of married gay and lesbian couples, whether they live in a state that currently allows them to legally marry or not.

Our sibling publication, Consumer Reports, laid out some of the important changes that couples can look forward to:

State tax returns. Couples who were legally married in one state but who live in a different state had to file their taxes in two different ways: married filing jointly or separately for their federal returns, and individually on the state level if their state requires income taxes.

Filing only two tax returns instead doesn’t sound like much of an improvement, but it’s a symbolic victory and will save couples money and frustration. “[P]reviously, they might have had to prepare as many as five tax returns to comply with federal and state requirements, they will now only have to prepare two,” David Williams, Chief Tax Officer at TurboTax maker Intuit said earlier today.

Health Insurance. For people who get their health insurance through work, premiums for a domestic partner who is not legally the employee’s spouse in that state are taxable as income. Now that will change, which is a handy tax savings.

Social Security For the last two years, Social Security has recognized claims for spousal and survivor’s benefits from spouses living in states that recognized their marriages, and denied claims from people who didn’t. Going forward, that will change, but it isn’t clear yet how claims filed before this Supreme Court decision will be handled.

How the Supreme Court ruling impacts the finances of same-sex couples [Consumer Reports]
Congress Rules Marriage Equality in All States Further Simplifying Tax Preparation for Same-Sex Couples [Intuit]