IRS To Recognize Same-Sex Marriage For Federal Tax Purposes

This has to be one of the more unusual issues for people to cheer about, but it’s a big deal. Today the U.S. Treasury Department announced legally married same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax considerations. This includes federal income tax filing status, estate tax, and more. The announcement comes only months after the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act, which defined marriage as only between a man and a woman, as unconstitutional.

U.S. Treasury Department

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

Ruling Provides Certainty, Benefits and Protections Under Federal Tax Law for Same-Sex Married Couples
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Secretary Jacob J. Lew. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory, or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.


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