Sept. 6, 2013: An announcement last week by the U. S. Treasury, as well as IRS Revenue Ruling 2013-17, declared that for legally married same-sex couples, the IRS will follow the laws of “the place of celebration” in determining legal marital status, for all federal tax purposes, including income, gift and estate. This means that it doesn’t matter what state the couple currently resides in, they will now be treated as married for their federal tax filings. There are still complications regarding the state income and estate taxation for these couples, but this announcement does help ensure that federal benefits are determined by the legality of the marriage, not the individual state where the couple resides. This ruling also applies to federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including employee benefits, earned income credits, IRA contributions and taking the standard deduction.
Since the Supreme Court ruling over the summer regarding same-sex marriages, there have been numerous federal announcements and ruling changes to address each affected area. You can expect continued clarification from the federal agencies involved as they work through the logistics of definition and implementation of their various programs.