Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Tax Purposes

Academic journal article Journal of Accountancy

All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Recognized for Tax Purposes

Article excerpt

In the wake of the Supreme Court's Windsor decision (Sup. Ct. Dkt. No. 12-307 (6/26/13)), which invalidated a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), P.L. 104-199, the Treasury Department and IRS announced in late August that "same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes." The IRS also issued a revenue ruling (Rev. Rul. 2013-17) and FAQs (tinyurl.com/ptg3u7q) providing guidance on the topic.

The ruling will apply to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, for all federal taxes, including income, estate, and gift taxes. Tax provisions in which marriage is a factor include filing status, personal and dependency exemptions, the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributions to IRAs, the earned income tax credit, and the child tax credit, among others.

According to the IRS, more than 200 provisions in the Code and Treasury regulations include the terms "spouse," "marriage," "husband," "wife," or "husband and wife." Under the revenue ruling, the IRS will treat gender-neutral terms, such as "spouse" and "marriage," as including, respectively, an individual who is married to a person of the same sex if the couple is lawfully married under state law and such a marriage between same-sex individuals. The terms "husband," "wife," and "husband and wife" will be interpreted to include same-sex spouses.

The ruling will apply to taxpayers who are in 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. These marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes, even if the state in which the couple currently resides does not recognize same-sex marriages. The IRS says this is consistent with its longstanding position (Rev. …

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