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Same-sex couples must file taxes as single or head of household

Tax season is only a few months away. While this doesn't exactly conjure up feelings of excitement for many Georgia residents, it does mean that it is time to start thinking about how you will file.

For many people, filing taxes is basically the same each year unless your marital status changes. For same-sex couples living in Georgia, however, things are a bit different.

Although the federal government struck down major parts of the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year and now allows married same-sex couples to file federal taxes jointly, only states that recognize same-sex marriage accept joint tax returns at the state level. Because Georgia is not among those states, same-sex couples who live here will have to file their taxes as either single or head of household.

The Georgia Department of Revenue released an information bulletin that further describes and clarifies how same-sex couples in our state should file their tax returns.

Filing taxes is confusing enough. But having to file as a different status for both of your returns can make things especially challenging and frustrating. In such circumstances, there is plenty of room for error, as some people may know firsthand. Unfortunately, the Internal Revenue Service is not the most understanding group.

When caught up with the IRS, it is important to seek help from someone who is well-versed in federal and state tax law. Having someone on your side can go a long way toward ensuring you don't end up with the short end of the stick.

Source: GA Voice, "Ga. Department of Revenue issues guidelines for same-sex couples filing state tax returns," Dyana Bagby, Oct. 28, 2013

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