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SCOTUS gay marriage rulings good news for gay couples, bad news for tax preparers

by John Rabe | Off-Ramp®

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Paul Meja and David Barney, partners for over 40 years, get married in West Hollywood, Calif. on July 1st, 2013. Mae Ryan/KPCC

Married homosexual couples in California and the other states that allow gay marriage are rejoicing in what many might consider a dubious honor: being ensconced in federal tax law. The US Supreme Court's recent rulings mean married gays and lesbians can file "married jointly," and enjoy the same tax benefits straight couples have long enjoyed.

Lauren LeBaron knows the repercussions all too well, as a partnered gay man who is also a certified tax preparer.  The ruling means a much simpler process for the average married gay couple. "It's more than twice as much work," he says of how he's had to file for each couple until now. " I typically have to do about five tax returns, then allocate them out, then do a California return together. So it really is a great deal more work. It's confusing, and it's more costly for this type of client to have to pay for."

LeBaron and his partner, Peter Moruzzi, were married in San Francisco in 2004, then saw their marriage annulled. 'The city actually said, "Gee, you paid a bunch of money. Do you want your money back or do you want it to go toward a marriage equality fund?" I said, "You've just canceled my marriage. Send me my money back!"'

They're eager to get married again, but might wait a while to make sure it sticks this time.

Listen to our interview for all the in's and out's of tax law, and how the SCOTUS decisions will simplify the lives of married gays and lesbians.

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