Whenever you see or hear reference to the Varnum Ruling in Iowa, it’s referring to the 2009 decision by the Iowa Supreme Court that legalized same-gender marriage in Iowa.
I used to do a lot of blog posts about the tax implications of same-gender marriage, and in those posts, you’ll see occasional references to the Varnum ruling.
Immediately after the ruling, the Iowa Department of Revenue issued a brief memo saying that couples in same-gender marriages in Iowa would need to file their Iowa tax returns as married and that “certain recalculations” may need to be made.
The tax lives of people in same-gender marriages was complicated. They had to file as single at the federal level but married in Iowa. And Iowa provided little guidance.
In the 4+ years between the Varnum ruling and the U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down DOMA, that was all the guidance we got from IDR.
Most of those complications went away when DOMA was overturned, but there still can be complications with multiple-state filings if someone has to file a tax return in a state that doesn’t recognize same-gender marriage.
I don’t write about this topic as much anymore, but you can find my extensive archives here.
You can read more about the backstory of the Varnum case here.
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