Tag Archives: Marriage

Same sex marriage is now the law in South Carolina

November 20, 2014

Who would have thunk it?  Not so long ago it seemed like South Carolina would be the last state in the union to recognize or allow same sex marriage.  Now it won’t be long before we wonder what all the fuss was about.

According to news reports, the first same sex marriage in South Carolina occurred Wednesday morning in Charleston.  And now it is off to the races with the US Supreme Court declining to intervene in an appeal from the the state to stop same sex marriage.

We congratulate all those same sex couples who are now able to obtain the protections and benefits afforded under the law to married couples.  However, we also caution you that marriage is a two sided sword and can just as easily work against you if the marriage dissolves.  So go in with your eyes open and learn to protect yourselves.

Marriage opens up a long list of options not available to unmarried individuals from hospital visitation to social security benefits to estate planning.  So regardless of your particular perspective, we look forward to helping the good people of South Carolina sift through their options as the newly acquired constitutional rights of same sex couples are now allowed to coexist in harmony with the rights of everyone else.  Please feel free to call us at 803 732-4288 if we can be of assistance to you.

Is same sex marriage now legal in South Carolina?

October 6, 2014

The United States Supreme Court announced today that it has declined to intervene in a few same sex marriage cases that came before it.

The supreme court’s refusal to hear the state of Virginia’s appeal of a court ruling allowing same sex marriages means Virginia must recognize same sex marriage.  Since South Carolina is in the same circuit and bound by the same rulings does this mean same sex marriage in South Carolina is now likely to be confirmed in short order.

We will have to wait for the legal scholars to weigh in on this case but it sure looks like same sex marriage has arrived in South Carolina.  And if so, does that mean South Carolina taxpayers who are in a same sex marriage may now file joint tax returns for South Carolina tax purposes.

You may recall that the South Carolina Department of Revenue promulgated procedures for same sex couples who are in federally recognized same sex marriages, and therefore able to file a joint federal tax return, to bifurcate their tax returns for state taxation purposes thereby removing the joint filing status for state purposes.  It now appears to me that this procedure is no longer constitutionally kosher.

Stay tuned!


South Carolina reafirms it does not recognize same sex marriages

In a draft ruling today, the state of South Carolina reaffirmed it’s intention to not recognize same sex marriages.  The preliminary draft ruling can be found here (PDF).

A marriage between one man and one woman is the only lawful domestic union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

Since South Carolina tax calculations begin with federal taxable income, same sex spouses are presented with a bit of a dilemma when filing the state return. The state proceeds to provide guidance to those persons who qualify to file jointly for federal purposes but cannot file a joint South Carolina return.

Basically those persons are instructed to file the federal tax return in any way for which they are eligible to file for federal purposes, for example married filing jointly.  Then those persons are instructed to create a second pro forma federal tax return to calculate each spouses share of income and deductions.  This second pro forma return will not be filed with the federal government, but instead will be attached to the state return or retained as a worksheet to substantiate the entries on the state return.

Which all seems reasonably straight forward given the circumstances.

The question I have is how can the state survive a challenge to the constitutionality of this particular provision in light of the fact that the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited same sex marriages at the federal level, has fallen to constitutional defeat?

I guess we will all just have to stay tuned to find out.


Tax Tips for Newlyweds

Late spring and early summer are popular times for weddings. Whatever the season, a change in your marital status can affect your taxes. Here are several tips from the IRS for newlyweds.

  • It’s important that the names and Social Security numbers that you put on your tax return match your Social Security Administration records. If you’ve changed your name, report the change to the SSA. To do that, file Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card. You can get this form on their website at SSA.gov, by calling 800-772-1213 or by visiting your local SSA office.
  • If your address has changed, file Form 8822, Change of Address to notify the IRS. You should also notify the U.S. Postal Service if your address has changed. You can ask to have your mail forwarded online at USPS.com or report the change at your local post office.
  • If you work, report your name or address change to your employer. This will help to ensure that you receive your Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, after the end of the year.
  • If you and your spouse both work, you should check the amount of federal income tax withheld from your pay. Your combined incomes may move you into a higher tax bracket. Use the IRS Withholding Calculator tool at IRS.gov to help you complete a new Form W-4, Employee’s Withholding Allowance Certificate. See Publication 505, Tax Withholding and Estimated Tax, for more information.
  • If you didn’t qualify to itemize deductions before you were married, that may have changed. You and your spouse may save money by itemizing rather than taking the standard deduction on your tax return. You’ll need to use Form 1040 with Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. You can’t use Form 1040A or 1040EZ when you itemize.
  • If you are married as of Dec. 31, that’s your marital status for the entire year for tax purposes. You and your spouse usually may choose to file your federal income tax return either jointly or separately in any given year. You may want to figure the tax both ways to determine which filing status results in the lowest tax. In most cases, it’s beneficial to file jointly.

For more information about these topics, contact Tax On Wheels, LLC at 803 732-4288.

Five Tips for Recently Married or Divorced Taxpayers with a Name Change

If you changed your name after a recent marriage or divorce, the IRS reminds you to take the necessary steps to ensure the name on your tax return matches the name registered with the Social Security Administration. A mismatch between the name shown on your tax return and the SSA records can cause problems in the processing of your return and may even delay your refund.

Here are five tips from the IRS for recently married or divorced taxpayers who have a name change.

1. If you took your spouse’s last name — or if you hyphenated your last names, you may run into complications if you don’t notify the SSA. When newlyweds file a tax return using their new last names, IRS computers can’t match the new name with their Social Security number.

2. If you recently divorced and changed back to your previous last name, you’ll also need to notify the SSA of this name change.

3. Informing the SSA of a name change is easy. Simply file a Form SS-5, Application for a Social Security Card, at your local SSA office or by mail and provide a recently issued document as proof of your legal name change.

4. Form SS-5 is available on SSA’s website at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/, by calling 800-772-1213 or at local offices. Your new card will have the same number as your previous card, but will show your new name.

5. If you adopted your spouse’s children after getting married and their names changed, you’ll need to update their names with SSA too. For adopted children without SSNs, the parents can apply for an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number – or ATIN – by filing Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions with the IRS. The ATIN is a temporary number used in place of an SSN on the tax return. Form W-7A is available on the IRS.gov website or by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

Please click here to check out a previous post for a similar discussion of this issue and feel free to call us at 803 732-4288 if we can assist you with this or any other tax issue.