Same-sex couples who were legally married prior to 2013 were required to file federal returns as either single or Head of Household because federal government did not recognize same sex marriage. A Supreme Court ruling in 2013 states that the marriage should be recognized for federal purposes. Part of that provision is that those who were legally married in a state that recognized same-sex marriage may amend prior year returns, changing the filing status from single to married. It is not required.
The amended returns should only be done if the original returns were done at the same site and carryforward is available. This assures that an amended return can be done and the prior year information required is available for use. An assumption for this procedure is that the original state tax return was completed as a joint return in a state that recognized same sex marriage. First, the normal interview must be conducted with taxpayer and spouse. They need to determine who will be taxpayer and who will be spouse. It is important to ask if either has received a corrected W-2 for the year being amended. This can occur when benefits are changed retroactively as a result of the Supreme Court ruling in 2013.
To complete the amended return:
· Open the return for the designated taxpayer and do the normal initialization. Print copies of each return before any changes are made.
· Check box on form 1040-X to lock in original data in Column 1. Also lock in State return, if applicable (not applicable in Nebraska).
· Change filing status to Married Filing Joint on Main Information Worksheet. Complete PIN for spouse to authorize practitioner pin.
· Proceed to enter all spouse data to taxpayer return. If spouse originally had a balance due, enter amount paid on line 15 of form 1040-X. If spouse received a refund on the original return, enter the amount of the refund as a negative number on line 15 of form 1040X.
· On page 2 of 1040X, state reason for amended return. Be sure to update state tax return if there are changes other than filing status that affect the state return (not applicable in Nebraska.)
· Ensure that return is complete and have it go through normal Quality Review.
· Assemble return and attach copy of spouse’s original Single return (printed earlier) to the amended return, along with any other new or changed forms.
· Provide client with proper mailing address and remind them that they must mail in the return to IRS.