Civil Unions In Illinois and How To File Your 2011 State Income Tax Return


In 2010, the Illinois legislature passed a civil union bill that conferred all state-level spousal rights between two individuals of the same sex. Governor Quinn signed the bill that became law on June 1, 2011.
Now that Illinois recognizes a civil union relationship between two people of the same sex as well as that of opposite sexes, how would one file their income tax return?  Illinois does not recognize same-sex civil unions as marriages; neither does the federal government. When a couple comes to Illinois from a state such as Iowa that allows same-sex marriages, or from a state that allows the domestic relationship status, such as Wisconsin, their relationship will be treated as a civil union and be allowed all the State Level rights that accompany it.
The Illinois Department of Revenue has determined that if a couple holds themselves out as being in a civil union at the end of 2011, and have followed proper procedure to qualify to be in a civil union, then, even though they cannot file a federal tax return using the married filing joint filing status, they must use either the married filing joint or the married filing separate status when filing their 2011 Illinois income tax return.
What this means is that they will have to make a mock federal return as if they were able to file jointly and combine their incomes so as to get a federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). This is what the State of Illinois uses as its line 1 figure. This would be true whether they file jointly or separately in Illinois. There are several scenarios that may arise involving civil unions in Illinois and how to file your 2011 state income tax return.
Another point to be made is that you are not allowed to electronically file your Illinois tax return. An Illinois income tax return involving taxpayers in a Civil Union must be a paper return and mailed in. If you would like more information on this, visit the Illinois Department of Revenue website at and under announcements, go to information for same-sex civil unions or email me at [email protected].

By Tony “the Taxman” Nazarowski

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012
Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 02:02