The IRS had made it official – a same sex couple who is legally married in a jurisdiction that recognized the marriage is considered legally married for federal tax purposes no matter where they live. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS applied the rules of common law marriages to same sex marriages and they will be required to file as married on their 2013 tax income return. The ruling also applies to gift and estate returns and employee benefits.
To qualify, the couple must have been legally married in a state, U.S. territory, the District of Columbia or a foreign country that recognizes same sex marriages. This does not apply to domestic partnerships, civil unions or other formal state recognitions. Once the couple meets the marriage requirement, they are legally married for federal tax purposes no matter where they live.
Couples that qualify may file an amended return for any open years. This goes for income, estate and gift taxes. They are not required to change back years, however, for 2013 they will have no choice but to filed Married Filing Joint or Married Filing Separately like any other married couple.
The big issue for me is how the state will treat the new couples. Kansas does not recognize same sex marriages. Considering the conservative tone at the Statehouse, I can see having to file two individual returns for the couple on the state level. This will be an interesting year for Kansas taxes with the major changes that went to effect on January 1, 2013 and now the IRS’s response to the DOMA Ruling.
This is just the first guidance the IRS is giving the public. There are more procedures to be created to deal with all the changes to taxes caused by the Defense of Marriage ruling in June 2013. Stay Tuned!