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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
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    1

    Default How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    This past February, I was married, choosing California’s Confidential Marriage License as our best option. You see - if my same sex union were made public, I would lose my job. Now it’s time to file taxes for the 1st time as a “married couple” -even though we’ve been together for over 10 years.

    1) if we file as a couple, won’t our status as a couple become public record? Even if we file separately?
    2) not wanting to defraud our government, can we file separately with no mention of our union?
    3) is there another option to protect our privacy?

    Thanks for any help

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,538

    Default Re: How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    1) if we file as a couple, won’t our status as a couple become public record? Even if we file separately?
    Under federal law your federal tax returns are not a public record. Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 6103 the IRS is prohibited from releasing your return information to others except in very specific circumstances listed in that section, like in response to a federal court order, certain requests by the head of federal law enforcement agencies, to the committees in Congress who oversee the federal laws and to state tax agencies under information sharing agreements with the IRS. There are protections, too, that restrict further disclosure by those other agencies who get the tax return data. California has similar laws that restrict disclosure of tax return information it has. Quite simply, there is no public record people can search to find your tax returns. So it is not the case that some random person or business can find your returns on a public record.

    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    2) not wanting to defraud our government, can we file separately with no mention of our union?
    No. Whether filing jointly or separately you must disclose your spouse information on your return.

    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    3) is there another option to protect our privacy?
    What exactly do you fear here? How is it that you think people will find out about your marriage from your tax returns? Other than you providing your returns to lenders or whomever else asks you for them, how are others going to get the returns? Federal and state laws prohibit public disclosure of your returns by the tax agencies as described above, so what else do you think you need?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,382

    Default Re: How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    You see - if my same sex union were made public, I would lose my job.

    Why do you fear losing your job?

    Same sex marriage has been legal in CA since 2008 and there are federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

    If you lost your job over it you would probably have grounds for a very big lawsuit against your employer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,889

    Default Re: How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    if we file as a couple, won’t our status as a couple become public record? Even if we file separately?
    No. You don't really think tax filing records are public records, do you?


    Quote Quoting BlackAston
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    not wanting to defraud our government, can we file separately with no mention of our union?
    Your options are married/jointly and married/separately, and you have to identify your spouse in either case. I don't know if it would be strictly illegal for each of you to file as single, but it wouldn't likely be to your financial benefit to do so.


    P.S. Do you suppose that your employer is going down to the county clerk/recorder's office on any sort of regular basis to see if any of his/her/its employees are getting married? That would be awfully bizarre.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Posts
    19,366

    Default Re: How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    It's illegal to file Single if you are married, with the exception of "legal separation" which requires formal state recognition (just moving out isn't sufficient).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
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    7,538

    Default Re: How to Keep Your California Confidential Marriage Private While Filing Taxes

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    Same sex marriage has been legal in CA since 2008 and there are federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
    California law bars discrimination by employers based on sexual orientation but federal law does not unless the employer is the federal government itself.

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    I don't know if it would be strictly illegal for each of you to file as single, but it wouldn't likely be to your financial benefit to do so.
    Unless legally separated it is indeed illegal for a married taxpayer to file as single. That's because the filing status affects the computation of the tax owed by the taxpayer.

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