Local News

Oct 1, 2013 5:39 PM by Andrew Ellison - aellison@kristv.com

Same Sex Couples Happy to Get Big Tax Benefits

CORPUS CHRISTI - Months after the Defense of Marriage Act was repealed, the Internal Revenue Service is recognizing same sex couples and their marriages.

So, if a couple gets married in a state that allows same sex marriage, they're entitled to any and all federal tax benefits that come with it, no matter where they live after that.

Local couple Diane Creson and Mary Jo Smith say that's a big deal.

"If something happens to her, her I.R.A. comes to me as a spouse and vice versa," Creson says.

And that's just one example. There are some 2,000 possible benefits married couples can receive from the I.R.S.

Social security is another big benefit. If the spouse with the higher social security check dies, the spouse with the lower social security benefit would start getting that higher check.

But that only works if a couple is legally married in the I.R.S.'s eyes, and now they are.

Estate tax is another big issue. If a husband dies, his wife doesn't have to pay taxes to inherit the house they live in and its worth. But again, that only works if a couple is legally married.

Now that the I.R.S. Recognizes same sex marriage, those coupes don't have to pay that hefty tax to do the same thing that heterosexual couples do.

"Estate taxes can be as high as 55 percent. Hello! That's not any good. I don't want to give 55 percent of my money to uncle sam," Creson says.

And while the couple of 38 years is excited to finally get these benefits, they still want to be fully recognized as married, and Texas doesn't recognize the marriage.

"In Texas, this is just the first piece. It's going to be an uphill battle for quite a while, but it's a piece. So, it's a start," Smith says.

The I.R.S. Also says that if you are a same sex couple that got married in the last three years, you can re-file those income tax returns in those years and get the tax breaks you would have gotten.

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