How Do Domestic Partners File Taxes?

Are you looking for information regarding domestic partnership in California? First off, you may be wondering if the legalization of same-sex marriage last year changed the rights of domestic partners. No, it did not.

On June 26, 2015, in Obergefell v. Hodges, the United States Supreme Court ruled that all states must recognize same-sex marriages, but it did not impact domestic partnerships in California.

The California Secretary of State's office is still the agency that processes Declarations of Domestic Partnership, as well as Notices of Termination of Domestic Partnership.

What about taxes, do domestic partners file taxes the same as same-sex spouses?

Registered Domestic Partners & Taxes

The following information is for registered domestic partnerships that do not qualify as marriages under California law.

Q. Can we file federal tax returns and use the married filing jointly or separately status?
Unfortunately, no. Registered domestic partners cannot file federal returns using either married status because they are not technically married under California law. For federal tax purposes, domestic partners are not married.

Q. Can I claim head-of-household even though my only dependent is my registered domestic partner?
No, you cannot. That's because registered domestic partners do not count as one of the related individuals under Section 152(c) or (d).

Q. We have a child. Which one of us can claim her as a dependent?
If your daughter qualifies under Section 152(c), and you're both registered domestic partners, then either one of you can claim the dependency deduction for your daughter, but not both of you.

Q. My partner claims a standard deduction. Can I itemize deductions?
We have good news, yes you can. You have the option of itemizing or claiming the standard deduction regardless of what your partner decides to do.

However, the law does prohibit taxpayers from itemizing if their spouse claims the standard deduction. But, this doesn't apply to registered domestic partners because for federal tax purposes, they're not considered spouses.

If you have further questions about registered domestic partnerships, contact a Los Angeles family law attorney from Claery & Hammond, LLPto schedule a free consultation.