The Indiana Department of Revenue will require each member of a same-sex couple to file a single-filer state tax return. But officials stopped short of creating a tax worksheet to help married same-sex couples recalculate their joint income before they file separate state tax forms, as Wisconsin and Michigan have done.
That is the approach recommended by the nonpartisan Tax Foundation to help reduce confusion.
Department of Revenue spokesman Robert Dittmer says the agency's guidance simply follows Indiana's same-sex marriage ban and does not recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states.
Gay-rights advocacy group Indiana Equality Action says the new tax dynamic creates an attempted "separate but equal" system in Indiana that could spur a new legal challenge of the gay marriage ban. The group's attorneys have been researching the matter . . .
The state's new guidance, issued on the Department of Revenue's website this afternoon, advises couples who file federal returns with a married filing status to also fill out sample federal single-filer forms. To do so, they must divide their joint income.
They then can refer to those sample federal returns when they fill out Indiana's tax return for single-filers. The website offers some advice for dividing up income and specifies which lines on the federal form affect the state return . . .There's no question that this disparate tax treatment of same-sex couples will lead to a plethora of lawsuits being filed across the country in states like Indiana which bar recognition of same-sex marriages challenging the constitutionality of the state laws on equal protection grounds. Indiana's law creates the "second-tier marriage" tax inequality based solely on a married couple's sexual orientation, a classification made for reasons other than "government efficiency" that the Supreme Court ruled in U.S. v. Windsor violates the 5th Amendment's equal protection clause, which the 14th Amendment makes equally applicable to the states.