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Personal Income Tax: Same-Sex Couples May File as Married on 2013 State Returns

The Utah State Tax Commission has issued a notice announcing that same-sex couples who file as married on their federal income tax returns for 2013 may also file as married on their Utah individual income tax returns for 2013. This addresses filing status questions arising from litigation pending in the federal courts regarding Article 1, §29, of the Utah Constitution, added by Amendment Three (2004), and replaces guidance previously issued on October 9, 2013 (TAXDAY, 2013/10/14, S.18). This notice is limited to the 2013 tax year. Filing information for future years will be provided as court rulings and other information become available. If any taxpayers are required to file amended 2013 returns based on future court rulings, they will not be subject to penalties for any tax deficiencies resulting solely from following this notice. The notice should not be construed as a waiver of any legal defenses or arguments the state may make in the ongoing federal litigation or any pending or future judicial action.

On December 20, 2013, the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, in Case No. 2:13-cv-217, enjoined the state from enforcing §§30-1-2 and 30-1-4.1 of the Utah Code and Article 1, §29, of the Utah Constitution to the extent that these laws prohibit a person from marrying another person of the same sex. That case has been appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals (Kitchen, et al. v. Herbert, et al., Case No. 13-4178). On January 6, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed the injunction of the district court pending final disposition of the appeal by the court of appeals. As of December 31, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court had not yet issued its stay of the district court’s injunction. Thus, the State Tax Commission will allow same-sex couples whose marriages were performed in Utah pursuant to the federal district court’s order between December 20, 2013, and December 31, 2013, and those whose marriages were solemnized in other states before December 31, 2013, to file Utah individual income returns as married couples.

News Release, Utah State Tax Commission, January 15, 2014; Tax Notice, Utah State Tax Commission, January 15, 2014, ¶400-901

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