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Posted: 4:50 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30, 2013
By Jim Bradley
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
More same-sex couples in North Carolina are expected to go out-of-state to get married to take advantage of a new federal ruling. The U.S. Department of Treasury ruled that legally married same-sex couples can now file their taxes jointly like heterosexual couples. Charlotte resident Zuni Johnson showed Channel 9 a photo of his wedding to longtime partner Jason McCraw. "We were so excited," Johnson said. Now, even though North Carolina doesn't recognize that marriage, it is being recognized by the IRS. "The fact that now same-sex marriage couples are being treated equally under the federal tax laws is just enormous," Johnson said. The IRS now said gay couples legally married in the 13 states that sanction same-sex unions can file joint federal tax returns no matter where they live. Charlotte certified pulic accountant Gray Langley said in many cases, that could save same-sex couples money, but higher earners could also face the same marriage penalty that straight couples do. The bigger issue, he said, is that while they can file joint federal returns, they won't be able to on their North Carlina state return. "There's a lot of kinks to work out, and I think a lot more litigation down the road to get this straightened out," Langley said. Still, at the Charlotte LGBT community center, Glenn Griffin believes the recognition from the IRS will push many same-sex couples out of state and to the altar. "I do, I really do. I believe a lot of people will go off and get married to finally have their marriages recognized by the federal government," Griffin said. The new IRS ruling doesn't apply to domestic or civil unions, only marriages in states where gay marriage is legal. But if couples have a legal marriage from another state and come back to live in North Carolina, they can start filing a joint tax return this year.
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