All Legal Same-Sex Marriages will be Recognized for Federal Tax Purposes

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Over a month after the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) was repealed, the US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has finally weighed in with guidance on the issue of same-sex marriages. As expected (link to earlier eblast on DOMA ruling), the guidance held that all same-sex couples who get married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes. The general rule holds even for same-sex married couples that live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The ruling is effective September 16, 2013 but can be applied to prior tax years if the statute of limitations has not expired. IRS intends to issue streamlined procedures for employers who wish to file refund claims for payroll taxes paid on previously-taxed health insurance and fringe benefits provided to same-sex spouses, and to issue additional guidance on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this guidance.