Tax Information for Same Sex Couples

Am I “in a couple” for tax purposes?

 

For tax purposes, you are a couple if you are in a de facto or registered relationship.

Both de facto relationships and registered relationships are now recognised.

  • A de facto relationship is where two people who are not legally married live together on a genuine domestic basis in a relationship as a couple.
  • A registered relationship is one that is registered under certain prescribed state and territory laws that provide for registration of relationships. Currently, Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory provide for the registration of a relationship.

 

How has Tax Law changed for Same Sex Couples?

In 2010, The Assistant Treasurer issued a press release explaining how tax for same-sex couples is becoming fairer. This is some of what he had to say:

“The changes, announced in 2008, ensure that same-sex couples and families are treated the same way as other couples and families for income tax and superannuation purposes.

“As people begin preparing their tax returns, same-sex couples need to be aware that the differential treatment of same-sex couples and their children has been removed,"

"While the amount of tax that people have to pay depends on their personal circumstances, including whether they have children, it's a big win that same-sex couples can, when doing their taxes this year, access a range of tax concessions previously not available to them."

Some tax issues relevant to couples include:

  • Liability and relief from liability for the Medicare Levy Surcharge depends on your combined income and private health cover status.
  • Entitlement to the 20% medical expense offset is based upon the combined expenses of couples and their dependants.
  • Capital Gains tax law now recognises same–sex couples. This can be relevant when transferring assets.
  • The Senior Australians Tax Offset.
  • The Education Tax Refund.
  • Zone and overseas forces tax offset.
  • Superannuation.

For more information see Income Tests on the Tax Office website here: http://www.ato.gov.au/content/00189164.htm

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