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IRS Change for Filing Federal Individual Returns for Same-Sex Couples

October 2, 2013


The IRS announced on August 29, 2013 that all legal same-sex married couples will be treated as married for Federal tax purposes (including income and gift and estate taxes) as of September 16, 2013.

The ruling contained in IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-17 implements the Federal tax aspects of the June 26, 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.

The new rule applies to legally married same sex couples regardless of whether they reside in a State that recognizes same-sex marriage or in a State that does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.

It does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

For 2013 and beyond, same sex married couples must file their individual Federal return using either a filing status of married filing jointly or married filing separately. For 2012, this applies only if their original return for 2012 was filed on or after September 16, 2013. If the 2012 return was filed before September 16, 2013, they may choose (but are not required) to amend their 2012 Federal return.

This ruling is also retroactive to any prior open tax years if they were legally married during those years. As a result, they may file an amended return for Tax Years 2010, 2011, or 2012.

This ruling does not affect how a State individual return is filed if the State does not recognize the validity of same-sex marriages. We will continue to provide updates as more information on what filing status is available to same-sex married couples for State individual returns is released.

For more information see the following on the IRS website:

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