Breaking News: IRS releases ruling in regard to DOMA

The IRS today issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17 in response to the US Supreme Court’s ruling invalidating the Defense Of Marriage Act.
The ruling’s key provision is to affirm that a same sex couple will be considered “married” for US tax purposes as long as they were married in a state where same sex marriage is legal, irrespective of whether they now reside in a state that does not recognize such marriages.  The IRS indicates that this approach conforms to its longstanding policy in determining whether couples have been considered married for tax purposes.   Equally important, same sex couples living under different legal arrangements, such as Civil Unions, will not be considered “married”.
Affected couples will be required to file on a Married Joint or Separate basis in 2013.  Amending prior returns for years still open under the Statute of Limitations is optional.  In addition, if an employee made a pre-tax salary-reduction election for health coverage under a section 125 cafeteria plan sponsored by an employer and also elected to provide health coverage for a same-sex spouse on an after-tax basis that employee may treat the amounts that were paid on an after-tax basis as pretax salary reduction amounts for purposes of filing amended returns.
Additional guidance to employers will be forthcoming with regard to a number of matters, including the obtaining refunds of payroll taxes, impact on retirement plans, and other employee benefits.

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