Tuesday, September 3, 2013

I.R.S. Rules on Same-Sex Married Couples Status

As fall settles over the country and children return to the classroom, we have a clear understanding how one federal agency will treat same-sex couples in a post-DOMA world.  Last week, within an hour or two of dropping my Summer/Fall newsletter off at the printers, I received an alert from my associate back in the office.  The IRS released a statement clarifying its position on how it will treat married same-sex couples for estate and income tax purposes.  The newsletter had indicated that each agency would make a decision, and up until then, the IRS treatment depended on a couple's state of residence.  And then it changed.  My plans to start the Labor Day weekend were delayed, a few sentences were re-written, and back to the printers it went.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, same-sex married couples will receive:

  • all federal tax benefits no matter where they live.  This is significant for same-sex couples in my home state of Wisconsin, where same-sex marriages are not currently allowed.  If a couple were legally married in Iowa, but reside here, under this IRS ruling, they will be allowed the same tax breaks as any other married couple for both estate and incomes taxes. 
  • Also, the IRS is allowing amended returns going back to 2010.  Something that will likely cause the phones of CPAs across the country to ring!
As noted in earlier posts, each federal agency is making its own decision on how to function in a post-DOMA world.  Watch for more updates on this evolving issue.  And remember, a blog is not legal advice.  Please consult a licensed attorney in your state.

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