Thursday, September 05, 2013

124.1 - Good News #1: IRS says legally-married same-sex couples are married no matter where they live

Good News #1: IRS says legally-married same-sex couples are married no matter where they live

The decision by the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act is beginning to have a real and broadening impact on people's lives.

Last week, the Treasury Department issued a rule that if a same-sex couple legally married on one state moves to another state where such marriages are not recognized, for federal tax purposes the government will continue to recognize those marriages. That is, the state of celebration - where the wedding took place - defines is a couple is married, not the state of current residency.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the ruling "provides certainty and clear, coherent guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide" and assures such couples "that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

And this doesn't just affect income taxes and filing status. It affects employee benefits, IRA contributions, earned income, child tax credits, gift taxes, and estate taxes, among others. All federal tax purposes.

The Pentagon, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Social Security Administration had already moved to extend federal benefits to same-sex spouses of federal employees and military personnel regardless of their states of residency. But the IRS has yet to issue guidance for how the court’s decision will affect its policies. Now, the IRS has acted as well.

Unfortunately, the policy only applies to married couples, not to domestic partnerships or civil unions. But it still is a step forward and another recognition of the reality and the rights of same-sex couples.


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