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Why Some LGBT Couples Refuse to Lie on Federal Tax Forms

The IRS compels LGBT married couples to lie about their marital status on their federal income tax return forms. But as more and more states allow same-sex marriages, there is increasing tension between the law and the lie.

This tension has resulted in a new political movement that is challenging the IRS’s refusal to grant legally recognized LGBT partners the right to file federal income tax returns jointly as a married couple.

No one knows for sure exactly how many same-sex couples are refusing to lie and, thus, filing jointly as married couples. Currently the LGBT community is split about whether or not breaking the law in an effort to make a point is okay. After all, if you get caught knowingly using the wrong filing status on your tax return, you may be assessed a penalty, plus interest.

For now, the IRS doesn’t ask taxpayers to signify whether or not they are male or female, and they don’t require proof of marriage. However, knowingly using the wrong filing status can get you into hot water. Especially because more and more LGBT couples file jointly as married spouses, the movement may be getting the unwelcome attention of IRS auditors.

Until DOMA is overturned or the IRS changes its policy, if you knowingly file the incorrect tax return and the IRS discovers your deception, it will reject your filing and require you and your partner to refile using the proper returns. Because it can take more than a year for the IRS to reject your return, if you owe taxes, you’re liable for any interest plus penalties in addition to the original tax bill.

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