Finance Globe

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IRS Announces Recognition for Same-Sex Marriages

Last week the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced that all legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes. This move invalidated a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which specifically required that couples must be heterosexual to be recognized as married.

The ruling will apply to couples who were married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriage regardless of whether or not the marriage is recognized by the jurisdiction the couple lives in.

This means that couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes where marital status is a factor, including income and gift and estate taxes. It also applies to federal tax provisions 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.

For tax year 2013, legally-married same-sex couples will generally be required to file as either married filing jointly or married filing separately. Couples may also choose to amend prior year tax returns as married but are not required to. The statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years (which currently includes tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012) unless the taxpayer has petitioned for a special agreement with the IRS that allows them to file a refund claim for earlier years.

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.

Internal Revenue Service
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Sunday, 16 June 2024

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