Still working on those taxes? I wanted to share some information from last week’s same-sex tax seminar.
At the meeting, several people asked if it is mandatory to file joint tax returns if they have a civil union. The Department of Revenue made it very clear: It is required of everyone who entered a civil union, or has an equivalent relationship in another jurisdiction, to file a joint Illinois tax return. The department’s website has extensive information for couples to assist them in completing their returns at website link and the department’s hotline has trained assistance available. The hotline number (800) 732-8866
The Department of Revenue provided a lot of other valuable information, including:
- Individuals in civil unions are required to complete an “as if married” federal return and attach it to their joint Illinois return. Though this form cannot be submitted at the federal level, it must be submitted to the state of Illinois
- Couples in a civil union must submit their returns on paper. The department’s electronic system would pull the individual federal return if couples filed electronically and could result in errors. The Department is hoping to find an alternative to this in the near future.
- Because of the initial delay by the department in declaring that civil union couples could file jointly, it is possible that some people could find themselves in a position of having under withheld and face penalties. Representatives from the department described a review and appeal process for couples who believe they have been unfairly assessed penalties. My office can assist couples in following up with the department in these cases.
Attendees left with more than just a few pointers on how to file their tax returns. This tax seminar for same-sex couples made it even more clear that full marriage equality and federal recognition of those marriages is absolutely necessary. The creation of a new system of recognizing our relationships and the existence of the defense of marriage act on the federal level make this tax season much more complicated. I have found the Department of Revenue to be genuinely willing to help in any way they can, but there is a certain amount of confusion and uncertainty surrounding the new process.