September 06, 2013

The U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued a new ruling as a direct result of the Supreme Court action on June 26th regarding same-sex couples.

In short:

Under the ruling any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory that recognize same-sex marriage will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes. This includes:

  • filing status
  • personal deductions
  • dependency exemptions
  • standard deductions
  • employee benefits
  • tax credits
  • retirement plans and contributions

More importantly, this ruling applies regardless of where the same-sex couple currently lives. The ruling applies to originally being married in jurisdictions that legally recognize their marriages.

Other things to note:

  • Beginning in 2013, same-sex couples within this ruling must file either married filing jointly or married filing separately. You may no longer file as a single taxpayer.
  • You may choose to, but are not required to, file amended tax returns as being married for any prior tax years that are still open under the statute of limitations. This usually means three tax years (2010, 2011, and 2012).
  • This ruling DOES NOT apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships.
  • If you paid for same-sex health insurance coverage from an employer in after-tax dollars you may be able to shift these premiums into pre-tax dollars.
  • State laws are more complex and are currently evolving so try to keep informed of any new developments on this front.

More information will be forthcoming on this subject from the IRS and other government agencies.

Topic: Advice