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Same-Sex Couples Cannot File Joint Tax Returns In Louisiana

Flag_of_Louisiana.svgLouisiana will not recognize same-sex marriages for the purposes of state tax filing purposes. This is not surprising news in that Louisiana has a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.

Revenue Secretary Tim Barfield cited that when saying that a gay couple filing as married for the purposes of their federal taxes will be required to file separately for state taxes. Barfield was appointed to his position by Governor Bobby Jindal, an opponent of same-sex marriage.

The Louisiana law states that couples must file the same status for both their federal and their state taxes. Thus a married couple must file as married for both. Barfield, however, notes that the state’s constitution trumps state law.

Barfield issued guidance to taxpayers on the subject. He wrote that “Louisiana’s secretary of revenue is bound to support and uphold the Constitution and laws of the state of Louisiana, and any recognition of a same-sex filing status in Louisiana as promulgated in (the new Internal Revenue Service rule) would be a clear violation of Louisiana’s Constitution.”

The decision will deprive same-sex couples of the benefits of filing as a married couple with regards to their state taxes.

The decision comes in the wake of the issuing of new rules by the US Treasury Department and the IRS. In the wake of the repeal of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the tax code was amended to recognize legally married same-sex couples. This allowed them to file joint tax returns.

Thirteen states currently have marriage equality legislation on the books.

Barfield’s decision comes a week after the Louisiana National Guard refused to process spousal benefit requests for LGBT National Guardsmen. However, the National Guard’s refusal may be a violation of Federal Law.

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