Woohoo for the IRS!
“The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) today ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.”
While some other areas of government (notably immigration and the military) have already brought positive benefits to gay couples around the country since the DOMA decision came out, the IRS decision has the potential to affect a far broader range of families. The cost of imputed income for health insurance is an especially big deal, as are estate tax issues.
I’m also pleased that the IRS explicitly says:
“Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.”
In other words, civil unions are NOT equal to marriages, so anyone or any state who tries to argue that gay people should be content with civil unions, is now going to be much easier to argue or litigate against. New Jersey in particular comes to mind, where a state court had already ruled that the state must provide couples with equal benefits. Civil unions clearly no longer qualify.
And finally, I’m glad that the IRS made this ruling optionally retroactive for the last 3 tax years. Although considering it’s taken E and I three pay cycles just to get our withholding correct for 2013 now that we’re considered federally married, there’s no way we’re redoing our taxes for the last 3 years.