• Louisiana: Joins Other States That Will Not Recognize Same-Sex Marriage on State Income Tax Returns
  • September 27, 2013 | Authors: David M. Kall; Susan Millradt McGlone
  • Law Firm: McDonald Hopkins LLC - Cleveland Office
  • More and more states have been issuing guidance regarding how same-sex marriages will be treated for state income tax purposes in the wake of both the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 issued by the IRS. In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on grounds that the federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" applying only to heterosexual unions is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Revenue Ruling 2013-17 holds in part that a marriage of same-sex individuals that was validly entered into in a state whose law authorizes the marriage of two individuals of the same sex, shall be recognized for federal tax purposes, even if the married couple is domiciled in a state that does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.

    Louisiana joins the group of states that will not recognize same-sex marriage for purposes of determining filing status on Louisiana income tax returns, according to guidance published by the Louisiana Department of Revenue (the Department) on September 13, 2013 in Revenue Information Bulletin No. 13-024 (the Bulletin).

    The Louisiana Constitution states that “[m]arriage in the state of Louisiana shall consist only of the union of one man and one woman.” The Bulletin explains the “Louisiana Secretary of Revenue is bound to support and uphold the Constitution and the laws of the state of Louisiana, and any recognition of a same-sex filing status in Louisiana as promulgated in IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-17 would be a clear violation of Louisiana’s Constitution.”

    Consequently, the Department will not recognize same-sex marriages when determining filing status on state income tax returns. If a taxpayer’s federal filing status is married filing jointly, married filing separately or qualified widow pursuant to IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-17, then such taxpayer must file a separate state income tax return in Louisiana using a single, head of household or qualifying widow filing status, as applicable. The Bulletin instructs such taxpayers to provide the same federal income tax information on the Louisiana state income tax return that such taxpayer would have provided prior to the issuance of Revenue Ruling 2013-17.

    The Multistate Tax Update will continue to follow developments in state tax law in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor and Revenue Ruling 2013-17 issued by the IRS. Such rulings have only begun their ripple effect throughout the United States at both the federal and state level. To be sure, a multitude of state legislation, rulings, guidance, and litigation will ensue as a result.