The IRS and other federal agencies have issued guidance on the treatment of same‑sex spouses and couples for tax and other purposes in light of the Supreme Court’s landmark Windsor decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which had required same‑sex couples to be treated as unmarried for purposes of federal law. Effective as of September 16, 2013, the IRS adopted a “state‑of‑celebration” rule recognizing same‑sex marriages. This means same‑sex couples who were legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriage (i.e., “state‑of‑celebration”) will be treated as married for federal estate tax purposes, regardless of whether their state of residence recognizes same‑sex marriages. Federal income tax returns must be filed using either “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately” status even if the couple currently resides in a state that does not recognize same‑sex marriages.
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