Last week, the Virginia Department of Taxation (TAX) issued guidance (PDF) on state income tax filing for legally married same-sex couples residing in the Commonwealth. Same-sex married couples who file federal income tax returns jointly will be required to file their Virginia income tax returns as single individuals.
In August, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and U.S. Treasury Department announced that legal same-sex marriages would be treated the same as heterosexual marriages for federal taxation purposes, effective for the 2013 tax year. That policy is a response to a June Supreme Court ruling that overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), allowing legally married same-sex couples to file tax returns as married couples regardless of whether they live in jurisdictions that recognize gay marriage.
Virginia’s income tax law generally conforms to federal income tax law, meaning that a couple’s marital status for Virginia income tax purposes is usually based on their marital status for federal income tax purposes. However, the Constitution of Virginia and the Code of Virginia specifically prohibit state recognition of any marriage other than a marriage between one man and one woman, leading to the ruling from TAX.