The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced Aug. 29 that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, according to a U.S. Treasury Department release.
It does not matter if the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or one that does not.
The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Under the ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income as well as 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.
"With today's ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation's federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. "These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act."
Those who have questions should visit www.irs.gov .
From the Treasury Dept. and IRS:
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.
Legally-married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately" filing status.
Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.
Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012. Some taxpayers may have special circumstances (such as signing an agreement with the IRS to keep the statute of limitations open) that permit them to file refund claims for tax years 2009 and earlier.
Additionally, employees who purchased same-sex spouse health insurance coverage from their employers on an after-tax basis may treat the amounts paid for that coverage as pre-tax and excludable from income.
How to File a Claim for Refund
Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for income taxes should use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return.
Taxpayers who wish to file a refund claim for gift or estate taxes should file Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement.
For information on filing an amended return, go to Tax Topic 308, Amended Returns at www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc308.html or the Instructions to Forms 1040X and 843. Information on where to file your amended returns is available in the instructions to the form.
Treasury and the IRS intend to issue streamlined procedures for employers who wish to file refund claims for payroll taxes paid on previously-taxed health insurance and fringe benefits provided to same-sex spouses. Treasury and IRS also intend to issue further guidance on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this Revenue Ruling.
Other agencies may provide guidance on other federal programs that they administer that are affected by the Code.
For registered domestic partners who live in community property states, click here for Publication 555, Community Property.
Treasury and the IRS will begin applying the terms of Revenue Ruling 2013-17 on September 16, 2013, but taxpayers who wish to rely on the terms of the Revenue Ruling for earlier periods may choose to do so (as long as the statute of limitations for the earlier period has not expired).
HRC press release:
WASHINGTON Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced a ruling that will ensure all legally-married same-sex couples, regardless of where they live, will be recognized for federal tax purposes. Recently the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing the legal marriages of same-sex couples.
"With today's ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation's federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home," said Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin. "These families finally have access to crucial tax benefits and protections previously denied to them under the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act."
Under this new ruling from the Treasury Department and the IRS, same-sex couples who are legally married will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income, estate and gift taxes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple resides in a state or jurisdiction that recognizes their marriage.
Prior to today's ruling, lawfully married same-sex couples were forced to declare themselves "unmarried" to file their federal income tax returns. Furthermore, transfers of property, gifts and inheritances between same-sex spouses were taxed, unlike those between opposite-sex spouses as was the case in Edie Windsor's successful challenge to DOMA before the Supreme Court. Even the health insurance benefits provided for a same-sex spouse were treated as taxable income, costing the average same-sex couple over $1,000 a year in additional taxes.
Recently other federal agencies have issued similar rulings or guidance regarding the invalidation of Section 3 of DOMA, including the Office of Personnel Management, Department of Defense, Department of Health and Human Services, and Department of Homeland Security. Other agencies are expected to announce decisions on how benefits will flow to same-sex couples.
Since the Supreme Court announced it would take up the challenge to DOMA in Windsor v. United States, HRC has been urging the White House and agencies across the government to make any necessary changes to policies, procedures and regulations to ensure the broadest implementation of a favorable decision on DOMA. Earlier this month, HRC sent a letter to the Treasury Department and the IRS urging them to recognize all lawfully-married same-sex couples for their purposes.
"We urge all federal agencies to the greatest degree possible to join the Treasury Department and the IRS in recognizing the legal marriages of all same-sex couples," continued Griffin. "No family should have to worry about losing important federal rights and benefits, simply because they live in a state that doesn't recognize them as equal under the law."
Family Equality statement
Washington, DC - (Aug 29, 2013) - Family Equality Council, the national organization that connects, supports and represents the nation's three million parents who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) and their six million children, today praised an announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department to treat married same-sex couples as married for federal tax purposes. The decision comes in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision that found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
"This announcement is yet another giant step forward for our families," said Gabriel Blau, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council. "The Federal Government will now acknowledge same-sex couples, and their children, as a family under the tax code, regardless of their zip code."
This decision will recognize the legal marriages of same-sex couples in "place of celebration" allowing couples and families to file Federal tax returns jointly regardless of where they live.
"This is a significant win for the millions of our families who work hard, pay taxes and deserve to be recognized equally by the Federal Government. Once again the Obama Administration has demonstrated that they value the lives and contributions of the 3 million LGBT parents in the US raising 6 million children"
More information about the unique impact of tax laws on LGBT families can be found in the How DOMA Harms Children pullout of the All Children Matter report, www.children-matter.org
Illinois Unites statement
From John Kohlhepp Campaign Manager, Illinois Unites for Marriage
"The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced today that it will now recognize same-sex couples' marriages across the country based on the place of celebration, wherever those couples call home. We applaud this major victory for same-sex married couples nationwide. At the same time, today's announcement throws into bold relief the unequal status that thousands of loving Illinois gay and lesbian couples face.
The Illinois House must enact the freedom to marry now. Without the dignity and recognition of marriage issued by our home state, these loving, committed couples and their families still cannot access many critical benefits and protections our federal government provides. As one couple in our recently released video says, "this is where we are. This is where we grew up. This is where we should live and be a family." Illinois should recognize what the Treasury, the U.S. Supreme Court, and 13 other states have already recognized."
See www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2153.aspx .