State officials will have to delay their plans of wedding ceremonies. The Supreme Court granted a stay in the same-sex marriage at the request of state and local officials in Virginia.  The decision to stay follows a ruling by the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Richmond, VA), which struck down the ban as unconstitutional. The Supreme Court’s decision to stay same–sex marriage in Virginia follows the Supreme Court’s decision to stay a similar case in Utah.

With similar same-sex marriage cases coming up through Courts of Appeals in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee, the Supreme Court delayed the Virginia Ruling until the justices resolve the upcoming appeals for the additional states. The stay is expected to last for several months, but sources speculate that the Virginia ban could come back into consideration as early as October—when the annual term begins.

Currently, nineteen states recognize same-sex marriages. The Commonwealth could join the list of states that allow same-sex unions to file joint state income tax returns in the future. 

Let’s explore tax advantages for same-sex couples as they work today for states like Virginia, where there is a ban on same-sex marriages.  If you are currently married under state law then your marriage is recognized under federal law for tax filing purposes. This is true if you married in another state that recognizes same-sex unions and moved to any of the 21 states where same-sex marriage is not legal. Couples in this situation could file a joint federal tax return and a single filing status state tax return. Same-sex couples in this situation would file a total of three returns (1 joint federal, and two individual state returns).

Should the Supreme Court revisit the Virginia ruling and lift the ban on same-sex marriages, if couples legally get married in Virginia, same-sex partners in Virginia could base their joint return calculations on the figures from your joint federal return.  Couples in Virginia would only have to file two returns! Filing Virginia returns jointly means that couples could qualify for certain deductions and credits that they previously did not qualify for as individuals such as:

  • Standard deductions
  • Dependency Exemptions for couples with children
  • Sole Proprietorship Business Deductions
  • And more… 

For additional information on how life changes affect your taxes, please visit our Tax Resources page.