Legal Blog

The Weekly Scenario from Steve Shane – 9.3.13

Question:  Has there been any guidance for tax reporting purposes for same-sex couples (after the June 26th Supreme Court decision invalidating a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act)?

Answer:  Yes, the IRS has recently come out with guidance – now, same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for ALL federal tax purposes (e.g., income, estate and gift). The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.  Thus, legally married same-sex couples can move freely about the states with the assurance that their federal filing status will not change. The IRS guidance applies to all federal tax provisions related to marriage such as: 1. Filing status; 2. Personal and dependency exemptions; 3. Employee benefits; 4. Contributing to an IRA; 5. Claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit. Comment:  This ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships or civil unions. Legally married same sex couples will need to file the 2013 federal income tax return using married filing jointly or married filing separate filings.  Those who were in same-sex marriages may (but are not required to ) file original or amended returns where they can choose to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for those years which are still open under the statute of limitations.  The statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is 3 years from the date the return was filed or 2 years from the date the tax was paid (the later of the two). What this means is that refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012. Steven E. Shane Principal Offit│Kurman Attorneys At Law 301.575.0313 Washington 443.738.1513 Baltimore 410.218.9339 Mobile 301.575.0335 Facsimile Please note the above material discussed is intended to provide only general information. Do not, under any circumstances, solely rely on this information as legal advice. Legal matters are often complicated. For assistance with your specific legal problem or inquiry please contact me directly.