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

Posted on 09.04.13

Tax RulingsAuthor: 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