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Minnesota same-sex couples facing tax crunch like all others

Minnesota has been one of the American states to have given due legal recognition to gay and lesbian marriages. The traditional notion of heterosexual couples being the only married couples is no longer the only possibility envisaged in the family law prevailing in the state and same-sex partners are gradually receiving more societal acceptance in the inclusive environment.

One example of how a same-sex couple is being treated as the same as other couples in Minnesota is the way the tax laws in the state have been framed. While the thousands of gay and lesbian couples who have taken advantage of the legal recognition provided to them in the state are rightly feeling confused for having ventured in a new territory, the state does not treat them any different from heterosexual couples for the purposes of calculating taxes.

One of the biggest advantages that married couples have is their ability to transfer property to each other without being encumbered by tax burdens. At the same time, these newly-wed same-sex couples would also be able to avail of benefits such as flex and health saving accounts and retirement privileges. However, the collective income of the couple may mean they would be shifted to a higher tax bracket and end up having to pay more tax.

Yet these prospects have been welcomed by the same-sex couples in Minnesota, who believe that it is a small price to pay to enjoy the benefits of validation of their relationship by the laws of the state.

Aside from tax matters, these couple would also perhaps do well to familiarize themselves with all the associated legal issues and rights and responsibilities that their new status comes along with. Because they are afforded the same rights as any other married couple in the state, same-sex couples need to take the same steps required to protect themselves in a marriage and prepare for a divorce. This might require guidance and assistance with drafting legal documents such as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.

Source: Kare, "Same-sex married couples feeling first-time tax crunch," Karla Hult, Mar 20, 2014.

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