The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled Thursday that same-sex couples, who are legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.
The ruling applies regardless of where the couple lives and it applies 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.
In an effort to help guide these individuals, the IRS is offering tips and answers to frequently asked questions. According to a news release from the IRS, here are some key points from Thursday’s ruling:
- 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 now be covered. 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, but are not required to, file original or 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.
- Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Some taxpayers may have special circumstances, such as signing an agreement with the IRS to keep the statute of limitations open, that permit them to file refund claims for tax years 2009 and earlier.
- Employees who purchased same-sex spouse health insurance coverage from their employers on an after-tax basis may treat the amounts paid for that coverage as pre-tax and excludable from income.