What does Revenue Ruling 2013-17 mean for same-sex couples?
Here’s Revenue Ruling 2013-17
(Click the thumbnail to download the PDF)
It’s pretty simple, really. The Revenue Ruling recognizes same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes without considering whether or not the marriage is recognized in the taxpayers’ home state. So, if you live in Texas, you can go get married in Massachusetts, move back to Texas, and the marriage will be treated as legal for federal tax purposes. The bonus here, if you live in Texas, is that there is no income tax in that state. In other states, taxpayers might have to file returns under the “single” filing status on the state level even though they file joint returns on the federal level. The funny part about this is that most of these states will need to go through the process of changing their tax laws to avoid confusion. See, in most states, taxpayers are directed to use the same filing status as they use for federal tax purposes.
I think states should just go along with the IRS on this one. But many can’t. That’s because many of these states have constitutional amendments defining marriage as between a man and a woman The bottom line, this issue is going to need to work its way through the courts. Until then, gay married couples will be able to have all of benefits (and penalties) of marriage under federal law.