Human Rights

Good News for Millions: Same-Sex Married Couples Get Federal Tax Recognition Regardless of State of Residence

After DOMA's repeal, it was unknown whether married same-sex couples who moved to states that don’t recognize their marriages would be recognized by the IRS.

Photo Credit: Mark

When it comes to taxes, the federal government will now recognize all legally married same-sex couples regardless of their current state of residence, the U.S. Department of Treasury announced Thursday.

Before the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in June, the Internal Revenue Service did not recognize same-sex marriages for tax purposes. 

But today, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement:

Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. … 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.

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 I.R.A., and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.”

It does not, however, extend to those in civil unions, domestic partnerships or other legal relationships.

Same-sex couples married prior to DOMA’s repeal will be eligible to file amended returns for previous tax years and therefore possibly obtain refunds. 

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet.