Tax Law

IRS Revenue Ruling - IRS Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages Regardless of Domicile

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have ruled in Revenue Ruling 2013-17 that same-sex couples, legally married in a jurisdiction that recognizes their marriage, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies even if the couple lives in a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Following the issuance of United States v. Windsor, the IRS considered the continuing viability of Rev. Rul. 58-66, 1958-1 C.B. 60, which held that taxpayers who had entered into common law marriages in states recognizing the same were treated as “married” for FIT purposes, because Rev. Rul. 58-66 had also provided historical guidance as to the interaction between marital status of taxpayers as determined by state law and the use of the terms "spouse," "husband and wife," "husband," and "wife" in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Noting that Windsor identified federal tax law as one of many areas affected by the ruling, the IRS held that a post-Windsor interpretation of gender-specific terms in the IRC to exclude same-sex spouses would raise serious constitutional questions that were properly avoided; that the IRC including IRC § 7701 permitted gender-neutral construction of gender-specific terms; and that a gender-neutral interpretation was consistent with relevant legislative history. Moreover, gender-neutral interpretation fostered fair and effective administration of the IRC by assuring that all married couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex couples, were treated the same.

Read and download Revenue Ruling 2013-17.

Learn more at this article by Ballard Spahr LLP, U.S. Treasury Department Rules on Recognition of Same-Sex Marriage. subscribers may also access these materials:

United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (U.S. 2013)

Rev. Rul. 58-66 (I.R.S. 1958)

26 U.S.C. § 7701 (IRC § 7701)

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