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Montana takes a DADT approach to tax filing status

Timothy Kincaid

October 2nd, 2013

The Montana Revenue Director Mike Kadas has said that same sex couples in Montana cannot file joint state income tax returns – even if they do have a valid marriage from another state and their federal filing status is ‘married’. However, he won’t be asking. (Billings Gazette)

He told the committee the department has had few cases in which a taxpayer’s marriage status has been at issue.

“Therefore, we do not believe any compliance initiatives associated with verifying the marital validity of any type of marriage, opposite sex or same sex, is necessary,” he said.

Kadas said if the agency undertook a compliance initiative effort to verify marriages, it would apply to all types of marriages — opposite sex, same sex and common law. That would require the department to ask taxpayers to provide it with information that supports their claim that they have a valid marriage, he said.

Unfortunately, the department has no other means to verify taxpayers’ marital status other than directly asking them, Kadas said. That is something that at least some taxpayers would find to be intrusive, he said.

“We are also confident that if we did undertake a marriage compliance initiative, the cost of such an initiative would far outweigh any financial benefit received from enforcing Montana’s tax laws,” he said.



October 3rd, 2013 | LINK

So, what would they do with joint forms filed with names that indicate the individuals are of the same sex? Surely they wouldn’t just ignore those b/c it is too much trouble. Since they would automatically dismiss all same-sex couples, all they have to prove is that the couple filing jointly are of the same sex. While interesting, I don’t think this policy would really benefit married same-sex couples in that state.

October 3rd, 2013 | LINK

It “costs too much” to simply ask?

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2013 | LINK

There seems to be some confusions so let me share what I think Kadas is saying.

It would be discriminatory to demand that just same-sex couples prove they are really married and not ask opposite-sex couples to do the same. After all, there are probably more opposite-sex couples who tick the “married” box who may or may not have invalid marriages (either not gone through formal marriage license process or incorrectly filed their forms) than same-sex married couples in Montana.

And as the state doesn’t have the resources to demand that EVERYONE prove to the state that they are actually legally married, it’s not going to single out same-sex couples for scrutiny.

Timothy Kincaid
October 3rd, 2013 | LINK

And, just for example’s sake,

Should Timothy Near (San Jose Repertory Theater director for decades and the sister of folksinger Holly Near) move to Montana with her husband Michael Butler, the state is not going to force them to prove that they are really married or have Timothy submit to a physical examination to prove that she’s not actually a man.

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