Americans in same sex-marriages, no matter which state they were married in, are now recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax purposes, NBC News reported. The IRS reversed a policy Wednesday that went into effect in 2013 which recognized same-sex marriages for tax purposes but only when they were performed in states where the unions were legal.
The policy change, which the U.S. Treasury announced Wednesday, will put the IRS in line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision legalizing same-sex marriages across the nation. Filing status, exemptions, standard deduction and employee benefits will all be affected by the new policy, the Associated Press reported. Only same-sex couple tax returns in the states that allowed the unions were accepted by the IRS previously.
"These regulations provide additional clarity on how the federal government will treat same-sex couples for tax purposes in light of the Supreme Court's historic decision on same-sex marriage," Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in June that same-sex couples have the right to marry under the U.S. Constitution. Wednesday’s proposed change would mean the IRS would interpret “husband” and “wife” to apply to same-sex couples as they do to opposite-sex couples. The changes would not affect domestic partnerships or civil unions.
Filing as a married couple on ones taxes can lower the amount paid to the IRS, but it could also force other couples to pay more. Big savings often go to couples if one spouse relies on his or her partner for their employer-provided health insurance coverage.
— Treasury Department (@USTreasury) October 21, 2015
The decision from the IRS is not the first push for same-sex marriage equality for tax purposes. In July, Rep. Sander Levin, D-Michigan, proposed legislation that would guarantee equal treatment for all same-sex married couples under the U.S. tax code, similar to Wednesday’s decision.