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IRS releases guidance on application of DOMA ruling

The June 26th Supreme Court ruling, invalidating Sec 3 of DOMA (the one that prohibited any federal agency from recognizing same sex marriages) but upholding Sec 2 (the right of a state to prohibit gay marriages) had left a significant number of couples up in the air. What if they had been married in one state (say, CA) but lived in (or moved to) a state that prohibits recognition of gay marriage (such as AZ). TODAY, the Internal Revenue Service released guidance (link below) that clearly states that a marriage legally performed in ANY state will be recognized in ALL states, for federal tax purposes. (This includes not just income tax, but also gift and estate taxes.) What this means: If you are legally married in ANY state, you will be filing your 2013 FEDERAL return as MARRIED ... either jointly with your spouse, or separately. (You can NOT file as Single, because you aren't.) For earlier years (in which you were also married, as of 12/31 of that year), such couples have the OPTION of amending their returns to file as married. At this point, that is generally available for years 2010-2012. But what about state returns? Each state will likely provide specific guidance, but the assumption (not covered in the IRS release) is that - if the state has a valid law not recognizing same sex marriage - your filing status for state filing will continue to be Single. That can cause some confusion in many states, where state returns might start with federal figures; couples may need to prepare a "dummy" Single federal return, just to get the numbers needed for state filing. More info to follow.

http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2153.aspx


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