Married same-sex couples who were legally married in a state that recognizes such unions will now be able to file joint federal tax returns, even if they live in Texas or other states that have not legalized same-sex marriage. The IRS teamed with the Department of the Treasury to develop clear and comprehensive tax filing rules for same-sex couples across the country, which were based on part of the Supreme Court’s ruling against portions of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The tax agency and Treasury Department based the rules on previous modifications made by several other federal bodies, such as the Defense Department, the office of Personnel Management and the Department of Health and Human Services. The rules effectively treat same-sex couples as married for federal tax purposes regardless of their status in their home state, and cover filing status, deductions, dependent exemptions and other provisions. Gay rights group have largely praised the new rules, saying they ensure same-sex couples enjoy the same tax treatment as heterosexual couples.
A representative with the Treasury Department said the rules ensure married same-sex couples “can freely move throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.” Because the statute of limitations on refund claims is two years from the date of payment or three years from the date of filing, same-sex couples can retroactively file refund claims for 2010, 2011 and 2012. This will allow them to take advantage of the benefits conferred by a joint tax filing.
The Supreme Court case that prompted the changes involved a New York woman who was forced to pay estate taxes following the death of her wife.
The IRS frequently modifies rules and laws, making it difficult for many Texas residents to stay up to date. In such instances, a qualified attorney can provide these individuals with the guidance and advice they need.
Star-Telegram, “IRS issues tax rules for married gay couples” Martin Crutsinger, Aug. 29, 2013