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Federal Tax Implications of the Supreme Court DOMA Decision

On August 29th the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance that same-sex couples who are legally married will be treated as married for federal income tax purposes. As long as the same-sex couple was married in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage they will be recognized as a married for federal purposes, regardless of where they live now. This ruling only applies to marriage and does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or other formal relationships created by state laws. Same-sex couples that are legally married will be required to file their 2013 federal tax return using a married status.


Married same-sex couples also have the opportunity to file amended federal tax returns back to 2010 or the year that they were married. It may be possible to amended federal returns for 2009 depending on when your 2009 tax return was filed. This could result in significant refunds for the last several years and savings going forward depending on each married couples financial situation.  Every couple‚Äôs financial situation is unique and the effects of this change can only be determined by looking at your financial and tax history for the last several years. If you are interested in learning how these changes could affect you please contact us to schedule a meeting.

For Federal purposes same-sex couples are considered married if the marriage was performed in a jurisdiction where same-sex marriage is allowed by law. It does not matter where the same-sex couple currently resides. This includes any marriages that were performed in foreign countries where same-sex marriage is allowed by law.