August 29, 2013
Nanette Lee Miller, Leader of the LGBT Practice Group, Featured in The New York Times Article "Gay Marriages Get Recognition From the IRS
By Annie Lowrey
All same-sex couples who are legally married will be recognized as such for federal tax purposes, even if the state where they live does not recognize their union, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, spoke outside the Supreme Court after the June ruling.
It is the broadest federal rule change to come out of the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and a sign of how quickly the government is moving to treat gay couples in the same way that it does straight couples.
The June decision found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how Washington would actually administer them. The Treasury Department answered some of those questions on Thursday. As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses who are legally married will not be able to file federal tax returns as if either were single. Instead, they must file together as "married filing jointly" or individually as "married filing separately."
Their address or the location of their wedding does not matter, as long as the marriage is legal: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany, N.Y., and move to Alabama are treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.
But the ruling creates complications for same-sex couples who live in any of the 37 states that do not recognize their marriages. Previously, such couples filed federal and state tax returns as individuals. Now, they will have to file their federal returns as other married couples do, but may be required to file their state returns as individuals.
"There's going to be a cumbersome workaround," said Nanette Lee Miller of Marcum LLP, a public accounting firm. She sees it as a paperwork bother more than a financial issue.