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Politics & Government

Same-sex married couples filing joint federal return must file separately in Michigan

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Rick Pluta
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After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the federal "Defense of Marriage Act" last July, the IRS announced that as of September 16th, gay couples with a state sanctioned marriage will be required to file their federal taxes as joint returns with their partner, or "married filing separately" - regardless of what state they live in now.

But in Michigan, those same couples will still be required to file separate returns, according to a document posted on the Michigan Department of Treasury's website.

The Michigan Treasury Department document says "under Michigan law the phrase 'husband and wife' means a man and a woman who are married to each other."

From the document:

Each individual must recalculate their federal adjusted gross income as if they had filed a single federal return. The Department will provide a worksheet on its website that can be used to recalculate income.

That worksheet is not available yet.

Brian O'Conner wrote about the "undated document" for the Detroit News:

Beyond the hassle and expense of refiguring and filing separate returns, the requirement to file singly could cost same-sex couples on some deductions, noted Marshall Hunt, director of tax services for the Accounting Aid Society in Detroit. Limits to how much a single filer can claim for some deductions and credits are higher for married couples, and could cause same-sex couples to miss out on tax breaks that other married couples can claim.

There's a federal challenge to Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage which will be heard this October. If it's struck down, we'll have to see how the state's treasury department reacts.

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