According to the tax agency, the decision is based on the state’s constitutional amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
S.C. Equality spearheaded an effort to change the proposed rule in January, attending a public meeting with staff. SCDOR received hundreds of emails protesting the rule, according to its staff. Challengers to the rule say it will cost same-sex couples more money to file their returns, and cost the state more money to process the returns.
While the decision was being made, the tax agency asked couples to wait to file taxes. The tax agency released a draft conclusion earlier this year:
“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.”
S.C. Equality released a statement on the official ruling Thursday.
“Through SCDOR’s ruling, South Carolina is forcing all legally married same-sex couples to lie on their tax forms. It is like asking us to take off our wedding rings and pretend just this once, that we are not actually married and ignore our legally binding commit to the person we love, as least for tax purposes.” Executive Director Ryan Wilson said in the statement. “This separate and unequal system for same-sex couples will cost the State of South Carolina tax payers thousands of dollars to process all these additional paper returns and when the IRS flags these returns for audit, will cause an administrative nightmare for SCDOR — something for which our state budget is not currently prepared to pay.”
Wilson’s statement concluded with asking supporters to get behind a proposed bill that would redefine gender terms of marriage in the state, H.4461. The bill’s champion, Rep. Todd Rutherford, also proposed another bill, H.4460, this session that would bring the definition of marriage back before voters in a November referendum.