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Married Same-Sex Couples Can Now Be Treated as Married for Federal Tax Purposes Regardless of State of Residency

The Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department have ruled that legally married same-sex couples will be recognized as married for federal tax purposes even in the states that do not allow same-sex marriages. This development is the most sweeping change since the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013.

The IRS ruling is scheduled to be published on September 16. The ruling explains that same-sex couples are treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including estate and income tax. Same=sex couples will be able to amend returns or file for refunds for previous years, subject to the IRS statute of limitations of three years. This means that any amendments to previously filed tax returns or claims for refunds can only go back until 2010. Further, if same-sex couples received an extension for 2012 taxes, they have until September 15, 2013 to decide whether to file that return as married or otherwise.

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