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State of California Franchise Tax Board

Determining tax obligations

Same-sex married couples (SSMCs) have special considerations when determining their tax obligations:


Here are some important things to know about SSMCs’ tax obligations:

Can a spouse in a same-sex marriage who filed a joint return apply for relief under California's innocent spouse provisions?

Yes, California innocent spouse provisions apply to anyone who files a married filing joint return.

If a spouse in a same-sex marriage files a separate return and failed to include an item of community income on the return that should have been included, are there any circumstances under which relief may be allowed if an assessment of tax is issued based on the failure to report that income on the separate return?

If one spouse establishes that he or she did not know or have reason to know of the unreported item of community property, and it would be inequitable to include that item in the spouse's gross income, then relief from tax liability for that item may be available under California law.

If a court in a divorce proceeding for a same-sex marriage assigns an FTB tax debt to one of the spouses, is FTB bound by the court order?

The parties to a divorce can stipulate to any payment arrangement of taxes that they wish, and the court could order one party to satisfy outstanding tax liabilities. However, FTB is not generally bound by such a court order. There are some circumstances where FTB will follow a court order revising tax liability between the parties to a divorce proceeding. See FTB Form 705, Request for Innocent Spouse Relief Form.

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