TurboTax FAQ
TurboTax FAQ
150 people found this useful

How do I prepare my return if I'm in a registered domestic partnership (RDP) or civil union (CU)?

Prepare your federal return with the Single or Head of Household filing status. Your partner should do the same. The IRS doesn't recognize registered domestic partnerships or civil unions as marriages.

However, if you're residents in one of the handful of states that recognize RDP and/or civil unions, you can file your state return jointly. See the instructions below.

Important: If you're in an RDP and a resident of California, Nevada, or Washington state, you also have to account for community property rules. Refer to these filing instructions instead.

Tip: If you plan to file a joint state return in a state that recognizes your partnership, we strongly recommend using TurboTax CD/Download software instead of TurboTax Online. It will save you time, money, and hassle.


Right after you start a return in TurboTax, you'll come to a screen asking Were You Married? This is where we'll present the options recognized by the laws of your resident state.

For example, the District of Columbia and Hawaii both recognize registered domestic partnerships and civil unions, so residents of those states will see those options on that screen in addition to the usual Single, Married, Divorced, etc.

If you don't see an RDP or Civil Union option, it's because your state doesn't recognize these types of partnerships for tax filing purposes, in which case you'll choose Single.

You can go back and review these screens by doing this:

  1. Open (continue) your return in TurboTax and search for filing status.
    • Click the Jump to filing status link in the search results.
  2. On the Your Personal Info Summary screen, click the first Edit button.
    • The following screen includes your State of Residence which determines the options on the Were You Married? screen.
    • If you click Continue, you'll eventually come to the Were You Married? screen.

After you choose the appropriate option on the Were You Married? screen, just follow the instructions in TurboTax to create your federal and state returns.

If you're filing jointly in a state that allows it

Once you've finished preparing your respective single federal returns, we'll prompt you to create a mock joint federal return. This mock return is not filed with the IRS. Its only purpose is to transfer your combined income and deductions to your joint state return. Keep it with your records though.

When all is said and done, you'll have created 4 returns total; 3 federal returns (2 filed with the IRS plus the mock federal return) and a joint return that you'll file with your state. It's sounds a bit complicated, but TurboTax will walk you through it every step of the way.

Please note that for a number of reasons, security being one of them, you won't be able to e-file your state return.