Photo (cc) by Alicia J. Rose
The IRS this week proposed new rules to implement the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell v. Hodges marriage equality ruling by officially recognizing same-sex marriages, regardless of where they were performed.
The Treasury Department said new legislation ensures that all same-sex and opposite-sex married couples are treated equally, for better or worse, under the tax code. The IRS is also applying the terms “husband” and “wife” to same-sex spouses.
The IRS has recognized same-sex married couples for tax purposes since 2013 but only from states that allowed such marriages, MarketWatch reports. The proposed new rules do not treat civil unions or domestic partnerships as marriages.
According to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, the new regulations will “provide additional clarity on how the federal government will treat same-sex couples for tax purposes in light of the Supreme Court’s historic decision on same-sex marriage.”
A statement from the Treasury Department says: “The proposed regulations will apply 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.”
What this means is that a same-sex married couple can now file their federal income tax returns as either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” State income tax returns follow the same idea.
At long last, same-sex couples in all 50 states will be afforded fair treatment should they wish to get married. Such couples may soon learn, however, that all married couples are still waiting to be treated fairly under the tax law.
The IRS’ new rules could also have a big impact on same-sex married couples’ health care.
“Until Wednesday’s [IRS] ruling, if you were a Texan who married a same-sex spouse in Vermont, you couldn’t get tax-free health care on your spouse’s health insurance plan, as enjoyed by heterosexual married couples and their children,” Money said.
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