News (USA)

N.D. issues tax form for married, gay couples due to same-sex marriage ban

BISMARK, N.D. — The state of North Dakota has released a new tax form designed specifically for married, same-sex couples because the state does not recognize their unions.

North-DakotaLorie Bowker, a supervisor in State Tax Commissioner’s office, said Form ND-1S, posted online about a week ago, is a compromise by state revenue officials due to North Dakota’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

The Internal Revenue Service had announced in August that it would allow same-sex couples to file as a married couple if they were married in a state where such unions are legal. The IRS ruling included all legally married same-sex couples, regardless of their state of residence.

For North Dakota, Bowker said the IRS ruling posed a dilemma, reported the Grand Forks Herald.

She said Form ND-1S is basically “a work form for divvying up a couple’s federal tax filing so they can file as individuals in North Dakota.”

Bowker noted that, like the federal government, there is a “marriage penalty” built into the North Dakota tax code, so filing as individuals could actually be beneficial to same-sex couples.

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For example, a couple earning $75,000 together would owe the state $1,341, but if they filed as two individuals earning half that amount, they would together owe $151 less, she said.

The new form hasn’t been widely publicized, but she said the tax department has had a few inquiries, probably from tax preparers whose clients are in same-sex marriages.

Other states which ban same-sex marriages have created similar work forms as a way to deal with married, same-sex couples, but several national advocacy groups say the discrepancy between federal and state tax filing laws could be grounds for federal lawsuits based on the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.

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