Same-Sex Marriage, Community Property, and Self-Employment Earnings

I have blogged before about how community property laws apply, for federal tax purposes, to couples in same-sex domestic partnerships or same-sex marriage, even though those couples can’t file joint tax returns. There’s a dispute, though, over whether community property laws apply to self-employment earnings.

Self-employment earnings are subject to the income-splitting rules under community property law. But some, such as Professor Pat Cain at Santa Clara Law School, say this does not apply to same-sex couples. Professor Cain’s stance is that self-employment earnings should be reported 100% by the spouse earning it, rather than reported 50/50 by each spouse.

I need to dig into the code and court cases before forming my own opinion on this. For now, you can read Professor Cain’s musings on the topic here.