Same-Sex Marriage is Now Legal in NC - Should You Update Your Estate Planning Documents?
Update on Same-Sex Marriage Tax Status
Registry of Deeds offices in Western North Carolina began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples on October 13, 2014, after U.S. District Court Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr.’s ruling that “North Carolina's laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional as a matter of law."
Many same-sex couples that are now legally married have asked how this change in status affects their estate planning documents.
Update on Same Sex Marriage in the 4th Circuit
In response to recent updates on the legal status of same-sex marriage, the NC Department of Revenue has issued a Directive. This Directive replaces the last one on this topic, which advised same-sex couples to file jointly federally and as single for NC State. The new Directive allows for same-sex couples that are legally married in any state by December 31, 2014 to file a North Carolina tax return using the same filing status claimed on the federal income tax return.
Blog Update: Administrative Agencies Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Changes
The Supreme Court announced today that they would not hear any same-sex marriage cases in the 2015 term. While this may seem surprising, I think that it is a good strategic move. This decision means that bans on same-sex marriage will be immediately lifted in Indiana, Utah, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and Virginia. There are 7 other states that this ruling will effect because they lie in the same federal districts. In response to the Supreme Court announcement, the 4th Circuit, which contains North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, issued a mandate that Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriages will be lifted as of 1:00 pm today. Hopefully North Carolina will soon follow suit.
Administrative Agencies Respond to Same-Sex Marriage Changes
The NC Department of Revenue has issued instructions on how same-sex couples should file their 2013 taxes. North Carolina does not currently recognize any same-sex marriages, even if the marriage was performed in a state where same-sex marriage is legal. If you are a same-sex couple with North Carolina residency, the state tax office has deemed that you must prepare a federal return with a filing status of single and then use those figures to file your North Carolina state taxes.
Buncombe County Accepting Gay Marriage License Applications
The US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have each issued a ruling that same-sex couples that have been legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriage will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This ruling will apply regardless of whether or not the couple is currently living in a jurisdiction that recognizes same sex marriage.
Drew Reisinger, the Buncombe County Registrar of Deeds, has taken an important step towards challenging North Carolina’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. In a move inspired by the June 26th Supreme Court decision that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, Reisinger began accepting marriage license applications from gay couples on Tuesday, October 15th. When asked by the press about his primary reason for accepting the applications, Reisinger said, “I have concerns about whether we are violating people's civil rights."