Same-sex couples in Kansas will now be able to file joint taxes for the 2014 tax year, according to Gov. Sam Brownback’s spokeswoman.
The issue is of huge importance to many gay couples who married last year when the state’s same-sex marriage ban was struck down in November.
Eileen Hawley, the governor’s director of communications, said Tuesday that same-sex couples who filed for an extension on their 2014 taxes or want to go back and amend their taxes will now be able to file jointly.
The Department of Revenue had said Monday that couples would be able to file jointly for the current 2015 tax year. Those tax returns won’t be processed until next year.
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Hawley said the agency had been reviewing the policy and confirmed that couples will also be able to file jointly for the 2014 tax year.
“It’s about time,” said Tom Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas, a gay rights organization that had been pressing the issue. “Married couples should be able to file their taxes as married.”
Before the announcement, married same-sex couples were able to file jointly on their federal returns, but they were being forced to file separately on their state returns “as though we’re not married,” Witt said.
The issue also could be significant on whether a federal judge dismisses a pending lawsuit against the Department of Revenue and other state agencies. The state’s attorneys moved last week to dismiss the suit, arguing that agencies are now treating same-sex couples the same as their heterosexual peers.