Report: Legally married gay couples pay thousands in additional taxes

Ken Weissenberg, (left) with spouse Brian Sheerin

Ken Weissenberg, (left) with spouse Brian Sheerin Family Photo via CNN Money

NEW YORK — Same-sex couples are paying as much as $6,000 a year in additional taxes because the federal government doesn’t recognize gay marriage, according to a new report by CNN.

In an article published online at CNN Money, Financial Editor Blake Ellis reports that — according to an analysis conducted for CNN Money by tax specialists — legally married same-sex couples and their families don’t enjoy the same perks as many heterosexual couples, because they are not allowed to file their federal tax returns jointly.

Family Photo via CNN Money

Ken Weissenberg, (left) with spouse Brian Sheerin

The imbalance persists despite increasing acceptance of gay marriage as a legal right. More than 12 states now grant full or partial marriage rights to same-sex couples, and a recent Gallup poll showed — for the first time — that a majority of Americans favor gay marriage.

But not the federal government, which is constrained by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Even as more same-sex couples are able to file jointly at the state level, they are still forced to file as single when submitting federal returns to the IRS.

This means they can’t combine their income and deductions to take advantage of lower tax rates. It’s also harder for them to qualify for certain tax breaks because the credits phase out sooner for single filers.

“It’s costing these families thousands of dollars a year, as well as the emotional pain and suffering,” said Ken Weissenberg, a partner at accounting firm EisnerAmper who is in a same-sex marriage himself.

“But it shouldn’t stop anyone from getting married,” said Weissenberg, who says he pays an extra $5,000 in taxes per year simply because he is in a same-sex marriage. “If I had to pay twice as much in taxes to be married to my husband, I would.”

Full article at CNN Money

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