Darlene Hart4

A US Supreme Court ruling last year is expected to impact every company that sells goods or services into the US within months, or even weeks and days. In many places, it has already begun.

The ruling, South Dakota v. Wayfair, is considered precedent-setting because of its finding that US states may charge tax on purchases made to individuals and businesses within their borders by out-of-state sellers, even if these sellers don’t have a physical presence in the state.

(Wayfair is an NYSE-listed e-commerce company based in Boston, Massachusetts. Two other defendants in the case, Overstock.com Inc. and Newegg, Inc., are also US-based internet retailers.)

Until the Supreme Court’s decision, states had the authority to impose a sales tax collection obligation only on businesses that were physically present within their borders.

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iStock_Marriage CelebrationXSmallThe fact of the matter is that the Internal Revenue Service will continue to define marriage for United States Taxpayers everywhere in that only one man and one woman married to each other can file an income tax return with the filing status of married/joint. This filing status, looked upon by the Service as one taxpaying unit is entitled to substantial tax benefits over and above all other filing statuses be it Single, Head of Household, Married/separate, or Widow. So from an income tax perspective today’s supreme court decision is really in my opinion little more than kabuki theater.

If you check out the IRS’ Interactive Tax Assistant to determine your filing status you will find it to be incredibly disingenuous if not unilaterally misleading as the Instructions for the 2012 IRS Form 1040 Income Tax Return clearly state under under filing status the following.

“For federal tax purposes a marriage means only a legal union between a man and a woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” means a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” 

In my own humble opinion until you can check the box Married/Joint on an income tax return (box #2 under filing status) you are unfortunately NOT married for federal income tax purposes regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision today and I find it impossible at this time or any time in the near future that the IRS will be compelled to change their definition of the Married Filing Joint (MFJ) filing status. Read More