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Married Gay Couples File Joint Tax Returns

Gay Spouses Refuse to Lie on Taxes

Motivating music or not, everyone dreads filling out their tax return. But for gay spouses legally married in states or countries that allow it, it's especially stressful.

Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), married same-sex couples are denied federal rights granted to heterosexual spouses, including green cards and the benefits of filing a joint tax return. With DOMA on the books, married gay couples must lie on their tax returns and check "single." The Refuse to Lie campaign is encouraging couples to take a principled stand and mark that they're married. One married, lesbian advocate told The New York Times: "It would be both dishonest and deeply humiliating to now disavow each other or our marriage and declare ourselves single on our tax form."

While it seems like a simple act, it doesn't come without risk. Tax experts warn same-sex couples that filing as married could lead to penalties. But other advisers say you might be legally protected if you file a joint return under the sincere belief that DOMA is unconstitutional and have a reasonable legal opinion that backs you up. Refuse to Lie has some other ideas to help gay couples protect themselves, including filing two returns, one filed jointly and one filed as single, while asking the IRS to choose. The goal is to make a point, not get people in trouble with the IRS. Although, a court battle could present another challenge to DOMA and eventually help bring it down.

What would you do?

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