10 Updates
'Same Love' Grammy Wedding: Married Is Married For Tax Purposes

'Same Love' Grammy Wedding: Married Is Married For Tax Purposes

Jan 28 2014, 1:00am CST | by

And you thought your wedding was tricky to plan. Imagine saying “I do” in front of 28.5 million of your closest friends… That’s exactly what happened last night during the 56th Grammy Awards. With...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

25 weeks ago

'Same Love' Grammy Wedding: Married Is Married For Tax Purposes

Jan 28 2014, 1:00am CST | by

And you thought your wedding was tricky to plan.

Imagine saying “I do” in front of 28.5 million of your closest friends… That’s exactly what happened last night during the 56th Grammy Awards. With Macklemore and Ryan Lewis singing their hit song “Same Love” (it was also nominated for Song of the Year but lost to Daft Punk’s campy and wildly successful “Get Lucky”) on stage, 33 couples were married – during the ceremony – by actress/rapper/producer and Cover Girl Queen Latifah. As if that wasn’t enough of a moment, Madonna showed up on stage to sing them off with her 1986 single “Open Your Heart.”

It was a wedding day to remember. But was it legit?

Latifah is a lot of things but I didn’t know that she was eligible to officiate at weddings. It turns out, she’s not – well, not long term. Marrying couples at the Grammys was a temporary gig. She’s not an ordained minister. She was deputized as a commissioner by the State of California just for the ceremony, joking later that you could “[c]all me Queen Commish.”

A commissioner is one of a number of persons authorized under the California Family Code (at section 400) to solemnize a wedding. According to John Harding, a California family law trial lawyer and divorce mediator at Harding & Associates Family Law , a valid marriage requires the consent of the parties, issuance of a license, solemnization, and authentication.

“Consent,” Harding says, “is the capacity to understand the entry into an ordinary civil contract, and the simultaneous, voluntary entry into that contract while “[s]olemnization is the performance of the marriage ceremony by an official authorized to do so.” Finally, Harding explained that a marriage license must be issued by the county clerk and signed – as part of the authentication process – by the officiant.

All of the steps matter. Forgetting a piece – like, say, getting the marriage license, means that the marriage isn’t valid. But if you get it all right, you’re married according to the state of California.

And that’s good enough for the Internal Revenue Service.

You see, for federal tax purposes, whether you’re married or single is determined by state law. That means that a valid marriage under the laws of your state will be respected by the federal government (even if the rest of the country is still reeling a bit that you got married on the Grammys).

You cannot opt to treat yourself as married if you’re not – no matter which state you live in. Notably, if your state doesn’t recognize common law marriage, you may not hold yourself out as legally married (currently, only nine states – Alabama, Colorado, Kansas, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Iowa, Montana, Utah and Texas – and the District of Columbia, permit common law marriage though some states recognize common law marriages entered into before the laws changed). This also means that domestic partnerships, long-term engagements, civil unions and other arrangements don’t entitle you to file as married even if you feel married.

The opposite is also true. You can’t opt to file as single if you’re still legally married even you feel unmarried (or you really, really wish you were). If you want to file a separate return when you’re still married, the appropriate marital status is usually Married Filing Separate (in some cases, Head of Household or Qualifying Widower may apply). That requires a little bit of coordination: if you elect to file as Married Filing Separate, both spouses must make the same election to itemize deductions or claim the standard deduction.

There used to be an exception to the state recognition rule: same sex marriages. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was signed into law in 1996 and made it clear that even if a same sex marriage was valid under state law, it would not be recognized for federal purposes. That meant that it used to be impossible for a same sex couple to file as married for federal purposes. But that was before Windsor.

On June 26, 2013, in the now landmark Windsor opinion, the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional , confirming that the federal government did not have the right to regulate the definition of marriage. On August 29, 2013, the IRS took it one step further , ruling that all same-sex married couples will be treated as married for federal purposes regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage. But note the word “married” because it’s important. The ruling did not make it the law that all same-sex couples would be treated as married for federal purposes any more than heterosexual couples are treated as married for federal purposes – unless, of course, you put a ring on it.

In other words, no matter who you are: if you’re married, you’re married for federal tax purposes.

So those 33 couples who were married during the Grammys? They were a mix of gay and straight, old and young. That doesn’t matter. They’re all married (assuming Queen Latifah gets those certificates signed).

But pay attention to the date. For purposes of timing, marital status is determined as of the last day of the tax year. That means December 31. I don’t care how long you feel like you’ve been married: if you get married at any time during the year – even if it’s on December 31 – you’re married for the whole tax year so far as the IRS is concerned. Similarly, if you get divorced in July, you’re no longer married for the tax year. The one exception is for widows and widowers: the IRS still allows you to file as married (this is typically favorable for most taxpayers)./>/>

It doesn’t matter what your marital status is when you actually sign your tax return. Even though tax season opens in three days, those 33 couples will be filing separate returns while they file their 2013 tax returns in 2014 – again, that key date is December 31, 2013. It doesn’t matter what happened on January 26, 2014 – well, at least not for 2013 tax purposes. But for tax year 2014 (filed in 2015), those couples, assuming they stay together (and we hope that they do), will file as married.

We’re not all going to get married on a Grammy stage. But it doesn’t matter if you get married in front of 28 million people or 28. In a little white church or in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. By Queen Latifah or your justice of the peace. To a backdrop of Madonna or a church choir. As far as the IRS is concerned: married is married.

Want more taxgirl goodness? Pick your poison: receive posts by email , follow me on twitter (@taxgirl) , hang out with me on Facebook or check out my YouTube channel . If you want to keep an eye on documents I’ve posted, check out my profile on Scribd . And finally, you can subscribe to my podcast on the site or via iTunes (it’s free).

Source: Forbes Business

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Cambodia's Famous Battambang Circus
KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Newcastle United Training Session
KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Federal Aviation Administration Bans All US Flights To Israel
KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin H ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Sela ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Government Weekly Cabinet Meeting
KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in co ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Min ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

6 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

Iskandar Johor Open - Previews
JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an al ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM - Day One
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kide ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

47 killed in Taiwan as plane makes botched landing (Roundup)
Taipei, July 23 (IANS) Forty-seven people on board a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane were killed in a failed emergency landing in the island county of Penghu Wednesday, Taiwan's transportation authority has confirmed.
 
 
47 killed in Taiwan plane's botched landing
Taipei, July 23 (IANS) Forty-seven people on board a Taiwanese TransAsia Airways plane were killed in a failed emergency landing in the island county of Penghu Wednesday, Taiwan's transportation authority has confirmed.
 
 
51 killed in Taiwan plane emergency landing
Beijing, July 23 (IANS) At least 51 people were killed and seven others injured when a passenger plane with Taiwan's TransAsia Airways made an emergency landing on the outlying island county of Penghu Wednesday, media reported.
 
 
High salt ups heart disease risk in diabetics
Tokyo, July 23 (IANS) People with Type-2 diabetes have more to add to their list of dietary restrictions as researchers have found that a high salt diet may double their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Bravo defends sending Pooran in Super over
Port-of-Spain (Trinidad and Tobago), July 24 (IANS/CMC) Red Steel skipper Dwayne Bravo has defended his decision to allow 18-year-old Nicholas Pooran to take on Sunil Narine in a Super Over against the Guyana Amazon...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Bolt blasts officials for reducing Gay's doping ban
Glasgow (Scotland), July 24 (IANS/CMC) Sprint super star Usain Bolt has criticised anti-doping officials for reducing Tyson Gay's doping ban after he tested positive for an anabolic steroid last year. Gay and Bolt's...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Superb Smith's century takes Tridents to victory
Bridgetown (Barbados), July 24 (IANS/CMC) A century by Dwayne Smith fired Barbados Tridents to their second win of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL), with a convincing 29-run triumph over St Lucia Zouks in their first...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Tim Cook Just Made The Case For A Low-Priced iPhone
During Apple’s earnings call yesterday, CEO Tim Cook was asked a seemingly harmless question about the impact of trade-in programs on iPhone sales. Cook’s wide-ranging response was that he felt trade-ins were good for...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
A Tech Company With An Auto Focus
When three guys from an accounting firm in Pune came up with the idea of offering IT services back in the late 1980s, they were entering uncharted territory. Personal computers were still getting popularized, and Indian...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
Natalie Imbruglia wants to join dating app Tinder
Los Angeles, July 24 (IANS) Actress-turned-singer Natalie Imbruglia, who is single, reportedly wants to sign up to the cult dating app Tinder. The 39-year-old has admitted that her lack of success in her love life...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Nigeria's abducted girls not forgotten: UN chief
United Nations, July 24 (IANS) UN Secretary General Ban Ki- moon Wednesday voiced his full support for the worldwide vigils to mark 100 days since the abduction of schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram terrorists,...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Colombian military kills 13 rebels
Bogota, July 24 (IANS) Colombia's ministry of defence said Wednesday the armed forces killed 13 Leftist rebels and captured eight in two separate operations. The first operation took place between the towns of Tame...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kerry wraps up Israel visit, no sign of breakthrough
Jerusalem, July 24 (IANS) US Secretary of State John Kerry left Israel late Wednesday after a day-long visit during which he tried to broker a ceasefire agreement to end the ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas....
Read more on Politics Balla