* People in civil unions can now file their taxes electronically…
[Department of Revenue spokesperson Sue Hofer] said couples in civil unions can file electronically this year as a result of a software upgrade at the revenue agency. Last year, the first tax year for civil unions in Illinois, paper returns were required.
“It’s not fair to say, because you’re in a civil union, you have to file paper returns,” said Hofer.
A “civil union income report” also is required that allows state and federal returns to be matched for online filing.
The revenue department does not separately track civil-union returns, but nearly 5,200 civil unions were reported statewide from the time of legalization in June 2011 through the end of 2012.
* The Civil Rights Agenda responded via press release…
Because the federal government does not recognize civil unions, couples cannot file joint federal tax returns, so each partner in a civil union must prepare their tax returns twice.
“Taxes are such a headache and that is especially true if you are in a civil union,” said Anthony Martinez, Executive Director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “We received a large amount of calls and emails last year asking about filing taxes when a couple is in a civil union. The process is complicated and lengthy and includes the couple doing their taxes twice, once as if they were single and once as if they were married. The process also creates a large amount of unique paperwork. ,We are pleased that the Department has taken steps to ease the burden of filing taxes when you are in a civil union. Hopefully, the new Schedule will make a painstaking process a little bit easier.”
“The fact that there has to be a special schedule created for couples in civil union highlights that civil unions are not equal to marriage,” stated Rick Garcia, Director of the Equal Marriage Illinois Project and Senior Policy Advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda “The couples file their Illinois taxes as if they are married, but then have to use a special schedule that creates extra steps. Although these changes are welcome, we still must point out that civil unions are a separate institution from marriage and do not provide the same rights or responsibilities.”