The universal right of same-sex couples to marry their partners has been the law of the land since June 26, 2015. Even before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, hundreds of thousands of same-sex couples were legally married in many states. In the present, approximately one million Americans are wed in same-sex unions.
While many of the legal issues same-sex couples face are identical to the issues that other married couples face, tax and financial matters are of critical importance. Many of these issues may be new to some couples. Further, given the government's power when it comes to collecting taxes, it is critical to enlist the aid of a skilled tax lawyer.
Some of these benefits of retaining knowledgeable legal counsel include:
- Attorney-client privilege: One of the biggest advantages of working with a tax lawyer instead of an accountant or other tax professional is attorney-client privilege. An accountant or other tax professional may be required to divulge your tax information to the government, if it requests information about you. On the other hand, any information you discuss with your lawyer is protected by attorney-client privilege.
- Minimizing your tax burden: Every married couple must make many critical tax decisions regarding. For instance, should you and your spouse file your taxes separately or jointly? What the standard deduction or itemized deduction best? Which spouse will claim a dependency deduction for a child? A skilled tax lawyer can capably answer these and other questions while ensuring that you pay the minimum in taxes while complying with applicable federal and state laws.
- Tax compliance for small businesses: For same-sex couples who are also in business together, careful tax planning is essential. Your tax lawyer can help you determine what type of business structure is best for your situation, such as a partnership or a joint venture. When spouses have an employer-employee relationship, there are also important tax considerations involving payment of Medicaid and Social Security taxes.