Brownback administration won’t treat same-sex married couples the same for tax purposes

? Same-sex couples who were legally married elsewhere but live in Kansas won’t be treated as equals to opposite-sex couples for state tax purposes, Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration declared today.

The decision drew a protest from a leading gay rights organization in Kansas.

“We insist that the Brownback administration immediately rescind this discriminatory directive, and treat gay and lesbian taxpayers with the same fairness every other Kansan is treated,” said Thomas Witt, executive director of Equality Kansas.

The Kansas Department of Revenue has instructed same-sex couples to use the single filing status when filing state income tax returns next year. This will require same-sex married couples to do more paperwork and pay more taxes.

For same-sex couples filing as married for the first time at the federal level, the Revenue Department will provide a worksheet in the Kansas instruction booklet for calculating the income, deductions, and credit data to enter on each person’s Kansas return, the department said.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that legal marriages of same-sex couples must be recognized by the federal government, including couples who presently live in states, including Kansas, that ban gay marriage.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex couples to marry.

Following that ruling, the Internal Revenue Service issued directives that legally married couples, same-sex or opposite sex, are to file their federal income taxes as married regardless of where they live. But the decision left it up to states on how to treat same-sex couples on state taxes.

Witt said the requirement from the Revenue Department wasn’t fair.

“According to Kansas law, married couples are to use their Federal filing status as the basis for their Kansas taxes, but now, legally married gay and lesbian couples are being told to ignore the law and fill out separate forms that apply only to them,” Witt said.

The Revenue Department said the approach it has put in place is recommended by the Federation of Tax Administrators, adheres to the Kansas Constitution’s definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman, and complies with the Supreme Court’s decision.