The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance (in the form of a revenue ruling and two sets of Frequently Asked Questions) clarifying that same-sex couples that are legally married will be treated as married for purposes of federal income, gift and estate taxes, regardless of whether the couple lives in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage or a state that does not. However, couples in domestic partnerships or civil unions will not be treated as “married” for federal tax purposes. The ruling, which is effective as of September 16, 2013, generally applies prospectively, although individual taxpayers will have the opportunity to file amended tax returns (and claim refunds for taxes paid) for “open” tax years. The IRS intends to issue additional guidance regarding the extent, if any, that the ruling applies to retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements for periods prior to the effective date of the ruling.
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