The Iowa Department of Revenue hasn’t provided much guidance on what it expects out of same-sex married couples. But what little guidance it has issued is clear: couples in a same-sex marriage must file as married on their state taxes.
From a Department of Revenue memo, available on the Department website here, issued in 2009:
Beginning with tax year 2009, same-sex spouses should file their Iowa income tax returns as married persons, either jointly or separately. Federal law does not recognize same-sex marriages. As a result, same-sex spouses must still file separately for federal purposes.
See also the form instructions for the Iowa 1040, which says same-sex married couples must use one of the “married” filing statuses on their Iowa tax return.
The process for preparing tax returns for same-sex married couples is:
- Prepare and file each spouse’s separate federal returns using a filing status of single or head of household, and applying federal tax law as it applies to unmarried people.
- Create but do not file a federal tax return with a filing status of married filing jointly* and applying tax law as it applies to married people. (*-Or married filing separately if you prefer. I almost always use married filing jointly on the returns I prepare in this step.)
- Use the return created in Step 2 to prepare the Iowa tax return. The Iowa return must show a filing status of “married.”