For same-sex couples married in states that legally recognize their union, the Internal Revenue Service will now treat the couple the same as heterosexual married couples. This will apply even if the same-sex couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages.
This means same-sex couples will finally have access to tax benefits and filing statuses that were once only for heterosexual couples. It will also allow same-sex couples to move freely throughout the U.S. without fear of losing their federal filing status. Same-sex couples will now be able to claim dependent and personal exemptions, the child tax credit, the earned income credit and standard “married filing jointly” deduction.
According to the IRS, same-sex couples will also be able to file past tax returns and claim the deductions and status, as well. The tax agency has said they will accept amended returns for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years.
If a same-sex couple lives in a state that does not recognize their marriage, however, the couple will likely still have to file separate state tax returns. Some states use a person’s federal filing status to define his or her state filing status, so there may be a “de-coupling” of the two statuses in states that do not recognize same-sex marriages.
There are many family law issues that have come to light recently surrounding same-sex couples, especially since the Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June. If you have questions regarding how DOMA affects your same-sex relationship, civil union, marriage or divorce, your best option is to speak with an experienced family law attorney. The laws continue to change rapidly, including those in Colorado. Your attorney can provide you with the most up-to-date information you need.
Source: maddowblog.msnbc.com, “IRS will recognize same-sex marriages, even if states do not” Steve Benen, Aug. 29, 2013