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Back Local News DRT: Same-sex couples may file joint tax returns

DRT: Same-sex couples may file joint tax returns

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JOHN Camacho, director of the Department of Revenue and Taxation, confirmed yesterday that the department will accept joint tax returns filed by married same-sex couples living on Guam.

“It’s true: The joint filing now applies to same-sex couples who are married in other states where same-sex marriage is legal and have relocated to Guam,” Camacho said.

Following a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June, the Internal Revenue Service announced its recognition of all legally married same-sex couples even if they live in a jurisdiction that does not recognize their union.

Since Guam mirrors the IRS code, all federal tax rules apply locally. Camacho said married same-sex couples who have been living on Guam and filing individual tax returns may amend their 2012 tax returns accordingly.

“As long as the law is in place, the department will recognize joint filings by married same-sex couples,” the tax chief said.

During a breakfast briefing hosted last week by the Society for Human Resource Management Guam Chapter at the Outrigger Guam Resort, lawyer Todd Thompson said married same-sex couples living on Guam are entitled to the same benefits afforded to heterosexual spouses.

Don Clark, executive vice president and director of compliance for ASC Trust Corp., agreed with Thompson that federal rules on benefits prevail on Guam in the absence of any contradictory local law.

Prompted by the high court’s decision in the Windsor case that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government has been moving quickly to change federal rules toward treating gay couples the same way it treats heterosexual couples.

Last month, the Department of Defense began providing marriage benefits to same-sex couples for the first time, in a move that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said reflected the military’s commitment to “ensuring that all men and women who serve in the U.S. military and their families are treated fairly and equally.”

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