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Utah officials work to allow same-sex couples to file joint taxes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah doesn't allow same-sex married couples to file joint tax returns, but officials say they're working to change that — and the clock is ticking.

State tax officials said they have to jump many legal hurdles to let married same-sex couples file jointly by Jan. 1.

"We're in the process of deciding how best to handle that situation. Things changed last Friday," said Charlie Roberts, spokesperson for the Utah Tax Commission.

Roberts said they were waiting to see if the 10th Circuit Court would issue a stay on same-sex marriage, and that stay was denied. Now they need to meet with the Attorney General's Office to determine which changes need to be made.

"[We're] smack in the middle of the holidays and we have just not had an opportunity to sit with our attorneys and the Attorney General's Office and decide the most appropriate way to handle that," Roberts said.

But no matter who files a joint tax return for this year, Roberts said they're asking people to wait until after Jan. 31 to file because of a backlog at the IRS.

"They will not be doing any returns until Jan. 31, and where the state piggybacks on the federal returns, it's not going to help people to file their state income tax until after Jan. 31, Roberts said.

Roberts said the Utah Tax Commission is also asking people to file electronically if they can to streamline the process.

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Paul Nelson

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