Bill Would Allow Joint Tax Returns for Same-Sex Couples

6:30 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A bill has been filed in the State House to allow legally married same sex couples to file joint South Carolina tax returns.

Democratic House Minority leader Todd Rutherford filed the bill.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue has proposed a rules change that would force the couples to file state returns as single, or as head of households.

"It's just something that's right. Why is DOR even making this rule change in the first place? If people are married in another state, DOR should allow them to file married, not married filing separately. It's a rules change that is not necessary, and again it goes toward the bigotry that South Carolina has been known for in the past and we're trying to move away from now," said Rutherford.

The IRS allows same sex couples who were legally married to file joint returns - even if they live in a state that doesn't recognize the marriage.

Rutherford says state taxes should work the same way.

"I think the state of South Carolina should do whatever it can to take bigotry out of our laws and treat everybody the same. We ought to be the state of freedom not the state of inequality and making people jump through hoops just because they happened to married in another state and of the same sex," he said.

Samantha Cheek, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Revenue, said drafts of the proposal have not been reviewed by the director and are not the position of the agency. She said a staff draft is policy's preliminary finding and was being circulated to obtain comments and suggestions from the public before it is presented to the director for review.

Rutherford also filed a request to make a constitutional amendment to allow same sex marriage in our state.

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