Same-sex couples that were legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their unions will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service announced today. This applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.
“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 law that all Americans deserve,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement. “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.”
Legally married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income-tax return using the “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” status.
The ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.
Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may 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. The statute of limitations for filing a refund claim generally is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. They can still be filed for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years.
Answers to frequently asked questions are here.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration announced last month that it would give estate tax refunds to qualified spouses of same-sex couples as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision. Taxpayers who are impacted by the change can contact the New York State Taxpayer Information Center at 518-457-5387. A memo on the changes is available here. The state legalized same-sex marriage in June 2011.
This is the IRS ruling released today: