On August 29, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which answers many questions raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor earlier this summer. In Windsor, the Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman for federal law purposes, was unconstitutional because it denied same-sex couples equal protection under the law. Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS’s first formal response to the Windsor decision, holds that for all federal tax purposes:
The term “marriage” includes a marriage between two individuals of the same sex, provided those individuals are lawfully married under state law (or the laws of a territory or foreign jurisdiction with the legal authority to sanction marriage);
A same-sex marriage sanctioned under the laws of the state or territory in which it was performed will be recognized, even if the married couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage;
A same-sex (or opposite-sex) couple is not considered married by virtue of entering into a registered domestic partnership, civil union or other similar formal relationship recognized under state law (but not classified as a marriage under the laws of that state).
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