Some taxpayers in the state are pushing against a S.C. Department of Revenue draft ruling that, they say, would cost them more while filing their taxes in the state.
A 2013 U.S. Supreme Court decision requires legally married, same-sex couples must file jointly, even if they are living in states that do not recognize the marriage, according to advocates. But a recent ruling by the S.C. Department of Revenue could require those same-sex couples to file separately with the state — creating a headache and costing the filers more money, according to S.C. Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson.
The ruling has not yet been approved. S.C. Department of Revenue released this conclusion for its decision:
“South Carolina does not recognize same-sex marriages. Same-sex couples considered married for federal income tax purposes must use a filing status of single or, if applicable, head of household for South Carolina income tax purposes and prepare their South Carolina returns as though they are single.”
SCDOR is accepting comments on the ruling until Jan. 17. A meeting regarding the ruling is scheduled for 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at its office in Columbia.
Wilson could not quantify an average amount the separate filings would cost gay couples in the state, but said he expected it would double the cost if using a tax preparer, especially since couples would have to file jointly at the federal level and then cause a secondary, separate filing.
“We have individuals who have a legally binding marriage as stated by the federal government and by the state where they were married being told they’re going to have to pay extra money for tax preparation purposes and do extra work just to file here in South Carolina,” Wilson said. “If DOR came out with rulings that straight couples would have to pay more money or spend twice as much time working on their taxes, a whole lot of people would be angry about that.”
There is no registry in the state for gay-married couples. The U.S. Census reported there are about 7,000 same-sex households in the state. Those couples live together, and about 19 percent of those families have children. Wilson said he is unable to identify how many of those couples have been married out of state or are cohabiting.
Wilson legally married his partner Jan. 1, 2013, in Maryland and is one of the couples that will be affected by the ruling.