Utah allows married same-sex couples to file joint tax returns
'Portrait of a happy gay couple outdoors' [Shutterstock]

The Utah state tax commission decided on Thursday to allow same-sex married couples to file joint state income tax returns, the Salt Lake City Tribune reported.

A spokesperson for the commission, Charlie Roberts, acknowledged that the move was influenced by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby's ruling last month declaring that the state ban on marriage equality was unconstitutional.

"Judge Shelby's ruling played a big role in this," Roberts told the Tribune.

The commission will honor marriages performed before the Supreme Court suspended Shelby's ruling on Jan. 6. NBC News reported that the Justice Department had already decided to grant federal benefits to couples married during the 17-day period before the high court's ruling.

Utah same-sex couples married in states where it is legal will also be allowed to file joint returns, in keeping with the Internal Revenue Service's decision to do the same.

Reuters reported that about 1,800 couples were married during the period immediately following Shelby's ruling. Roberts also said the commission had "in communication" with Gov. Bob Herbert's (R) administration following its decision. After the Supreme Court's ruoling, Herbert instructed state agencies not to recognize same-sex marriages.

[Image: "Portrait Of A Happy Gay Couple Outdoors" via Shutterstock]