Washington • All legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state where they live recognizes the marriage, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
The change stems from the Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits.
“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. “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.”
The Treasury said that the ruling applied to “all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.”
The ruling applies to all legal marriages made in the United States or foreign countries. It does not extend to civil unions, registered domestic partnerships or other legal relationships, the Treasury said. Same-sex spouses will be able to file as married couples for the 2013 tax year, the Treasury said, and will also be able to file amended returns for certain prior tax years, meaning that many couples might be eligible for refunds.