New Tax Tool Helps LGBT Couples With Filings To Avoid Costly Mistakes

The April 15 deadline for filing taxes is only a few days away. For those same-sex couples who have yet to file, there is no need to panic with a new online database: the Online LGBT Tax Resource. Launched by the National LGBT Bar Association, BNY Mellon and the law firm White & Case LLP, the online database helps same-sex couples and their tax advisors avoid making costly mistakes. The resource is a unique tool for both tax preparers and payers in that it provides a comprehensive, state-by-state list of reporting regulations for same-sex couples.

Tax law remains one of the most complex and nuanced issues impacting the LGBT community, especially in states where couples are not allowed to file married tax returns. Following the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), couples are now eligible to file married federal returns. In 33 states, however, those same couples cannot file joint state returns. In response, the Online LGBT Tax Resource was developed to ensure LGBT families are equipped with the most up-to-date tax information for their home state.

“The end of the federal DOMA was a giant step forward for couples, but state laws continue to legally discriminate against many families,” D’Arcy Kemnitz, executive director of The LGBT Bar said in a statement released by PR Newswire. “The Online LGBT Tax Resource unveiled today will ensure couples can maximize state tax laws, and the repeal of DOMA, as they navigate what is often a very confusing area for LGBT families. The Resource is designed to ensure [these families] and their tax preparers and attorneys, have reliable, trust-worthy information.”

“In states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage, same-sex couples and their tax preparers are struggling to make sense of how to apply the federal tax guidelines based on the ruling last year that the DOMA was unconstitutional,” John Lillis, a tax partner with White & Case, who worked on the database project pro bono added. “This database is an important tool to help tax preparers and same-sex couples navigate the inconsistent rule that applies to state income tax laws.”

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The site specifically provides:

  • A recap of states’ rules concerning same-sex marriage and the impact on state income tax in clear and concise language
  • Individual state guidance for married same-sex taxpayers
  • Information on litigation, and legislation that could impact LGBT tax law
  • Up-to-date information from states’ departments of revenue, and state constitutions

“Working collaboratively with the LGBT Bar Association, Pro Bono lawyers from BNY Mellon and White & Case have created an online resource to help same-sex couples reduce the complexity of tax laws. BNY Mellon’s pro bono team reflects our uncompromising commitment to diversity and inclusion as a core business issue,” Deborah Kaye, Managing Director and Senior Managing Counsel, BNY Mellon said in the statement.

The LGBT Tax Resource presents state-level regulations in easily understandable language. The site will be updated quarterly with any new developments impacting tax laws for LGBT couples and will provide an inclusive listing of filing regulations in all fifty states.