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Pride month

The Shifting Tax Landscape for the Modern Family


While many people are aware that discrimination at work is illegal and a huge problem for members of the LGBTQ+ community, fewer accounting professionals realize the financial needs of this community differ greatly from their heterosexual counterparts. Marcum was the first accounting firm to offer services specifically geared toward these individuals, and here, they explain how the needs of this population differ to help you better understand your non-traditional clients.

Jun 15th 2021
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When it comes to preserving your wealth and protecting your family’s future, planning is crucial. But what if you or your family does not fit the traditional definitions and assumptions underlying our country’s tax and estate planning laws?

The typical American family is no longer comprised of a mother, a father and two-and–a-half kids. Today, married households are on the decline, while unmarried and other non-traditional family households are increasing and becoming the “new normal.” Divorce and second and third marriages (or more) are commonplace.  And same-sex marriage – with and without children – is on the rise. 

Whether they're heterosexual or LGBTQ, married or unmarried, with or without children, now more than ever, clients need to rely on experts and specialists experienced in navigating the complex, hyper-local and shifting tax landscape for the modern family in America.

In 2012, Marcum became the first national accounting firm to establish a tax and estate planning practice dedicated to the complex rules faced by people who don’t fit traditional definitions. Today, Marcum’s Modern Family & LGBT Services practice is the thought leader in the specialty area of tax compliance and consulting services for high-net-worth modern families, same-sex couples and LGBTQ+ individuals.

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is: “Should we or should we not get married?” (financially speaking, of course). This question leads to a whole host of other income tax questions and planning points that unmarried LGBTQ+ couples should carefully consider. For example: "If we make the decision to adopt a child, are we entitled to an adoption credit for adoption expenses incurred, and does getting married affect our ability to obtain the benefit of the credit?" They also ask, "If we have a child through assistive reproductive technology, are we entitled to a deduction for medical expenses paid?" "Who is entitled to take our child as a dependent if we file our tax returns separately?" "Can one of us take the other partner as a dependent?" "Can two unmarried partners both file as 'Head of Household'?” The list goes on.

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