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Tax Filing Update - Same Sex Marriages

Posted by Kathleen Webb on 10/31/13 12:39 PM

SeveDOMAral months ago we blogged about the US Supreme Court's findings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and how this impacts household employers or household employees in a valid same-sex marriage.

To update that post, on August 29, 2013 the US Treasury Department and the IRS "ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. 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. "

What does this mean?

1. Same-sex spouses, regardless of where they LIVE, must file their Federal income taxes as married so long as they were validly married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

2. An employee who is in a valid same-sex marriage may have different withholding statuses for Federal and state income taxes. When living in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage, the Federal withholding status may be married, and the state withholding status single.

3. Clients who are in a same-sex marriage should note the following:

Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit. (emphasis added)

As always, questions regarding your personal income taxes and strategies to minimize taxes owed should be discussed with your personal tax advisor.

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