Married gay couples living in all U.S. states can file joint federal tax returns, even if local authorities don’t recognize their marriages, the Obama administration said today.
The decision by the Treasury Department implements the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which had forbidden the Internal Revenue Service from letting married homosexual couples file jointly.
The government’s decision is a victory for same-sex couples who were married in one of the 13 states or the District of Columbia that recognize such relationships and now live in one of the 37 that don’t.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement today. “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.”
Couples with unequal incomes will benefit from the marriage bonuses in the tax code, while those with relatively equal incomes will have to pay more. The ruling also will make it easier for spouses to inherit money tax-free.
The Wall Street Journal reported – Same-Sex Marriages to Get Federal Tax Recognition
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 will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.
Legally married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” filing status.
Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may also file 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 Treasury said.
via – WSJ.com.