Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

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Author: Gary G. Wallace, CPA | Tax Partner

The Treasury and IRS released Revenue Ruling 2013-17 and a FAQ  indicating same-sex couples who are legally married in jurisdictions recognizing same-sex marriages will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling implements federal tax aspects of the June 26 Supreme Court decision.  The ruling includes couples who were married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriages, but live in a jurisdiction that does not.  The IRS is following the approach of a ‘place of celebration’ as compared to ‘place of domicile’ for applying these rules.  The ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or “similar formal relationships recognized under state law.”

The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor (filing status, employee benefits, gift and estate taxes, personal and dependency exemptions, etc.). Legally married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return as “married”, and may be eligible to file amended returns for prior open years. They may also be eligible for refunds for income tax or estate and gift taxes paid in prior open years. Treasury and the IRS will begin applying the terms of the ruling on September 16, 2013, but taxpayers generally may rely on the ruling before that date if they choose to do so, including the opportunity to amend prior tax filings.

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 ruling.

For additional information, please consult your Keiter tax professional. 

Additional Resources

CCH BREIFING -IRS Guidance On Same-Sex Marriage

The information contained within this article is provided for informational purposes only and is current as of the date published. Online readers are advised not to act upon this information without seeking the service of a professional accountant, as this article is not a substitute for obtaining accounting, tax, or financial advice from a professional accountant.

About the Author

Gary provides tax services to public and private entities and their owners in a variety of industry segments, including manufacturing, retail, real estate, and financial services. Gary has significant knowledge and experience in individual taxation, business taxation, including C and S corporations and partnerships. He advises clients on all aspects of tax matters, including tax accounting methods, multi-state tax matters, mergers and acquisitions, income tax accounting and representation with tax authorities. He is the Managing Partner of the Firm.

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