IRS Gives Its Blessing to Married Gay Couples

Same-sex spouses get same treatment as hetero couples

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 29, 2013 3:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – It's another milestone for gay marriage, this one involving joint tax returns. The IRS says it will recognize all legally married gay couples, even if they no longer live in states that allow same-sex marriage, reports LGBTQ Nation. They can move wherever they want, and their federal tax status won't change. The new rule will provide “clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide," says Treasury chief Jack Lew.

The shift will bestow upon those couples the same tax benefits that hetero couples enjoy, though some may end up paying higher income taxes under the "marriage penalty," notes USA Today. The rule applies only to those who are in legal marriages and not, say, civil unions. Gay couples can amend returns going back to 2010 if they want. The move stems from the Supreme Court's decision to gut the Defense of Marriage Act in June, a case that revolved around a lesbian woman who got hit with a huge estate-tax bill when her spouse died.

Matthew Wiltse, right, and Jonathon Bashford hold hands as they are married last year in Washington state.   (AP Photo/Rachel La Corte)
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