Treasury Dept.: Married same-sex couples will be respected for federal tax purposes

Today, the Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service announced how they will implement the June 2013 Supreme Court ruling declaring the central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. The Treasury Department and the IRS announced that all legally married same-sex couples will be fully respected by all federal tax programs, including income tax, gift and estate taxes, deductions, exemptions, retirement accounts, and child tax credit. 

The ruling will be applied to same-sex couples who married legally in any U.S. state or international country that has approved marriage for same-sex couples. All couples - no matter which state they live in (even if they live in a state that discriminates against their marriage) - will be respected for these federal tax programs. 

Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew announced the decision today. He said:

Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve. This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.

Same-sex couples will be permitted to file original or amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The statute of limitations for filing these refund claims is three years from the date the return was filed. For information on the specifics, visit the Department of the Treasury's site

Freedom to Marry founder and president Evan Wolfson commented on the big news today. He said:

This announcement makes today a day of celebration and relief for married same-sex couples all over America. At long last, the IRS will treat them as what they are: married. Freedom to Marry commends the administration’s swift implementation of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling for federal equality in an area that will have a direct, tangible impact on families’ financial health. 

The fact that this new respect applies only to married couples – not those joined by domestic partnerships or civil unions – highlights the need for an America where everyone can marry the person they love in any state, and have that marriage respected at all levels of government.

The news from the Department of the Treasury marks the latest announcement from the federal government declaring how same-sex couples will be impacted by the DOMA ruling. For all of the official statements released so far, click HERE. And for more information on what the end of DOMA means for same-sex couples, look at this 'AFTER DOMA' guide.

Freedom to Marry is continuing to pursue a final end to federal marriage discrimination through the Roadmap to Victory, which calls for advancing work on three tracks - winning more states, growing the majority, and ending federal discrimination - so that we can return to the U.S. Supreme Court with a critical mass of states and undeniable momentum in public opinion so that the court can rule for national resolution. Fully repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and working for the broadest implementation of the DOMA ruling - including with regard to the Social Security protections - are important steps in the path toward national victory. 

Photo by Helen John Photography