BOSTON (CBS) – Last June the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes, including income taxes and gift and estate taxes.
The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, this includes filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.
Any same-sex marriage legally entered into in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or a foreign country will be covered by the ruling.
Legally married same-sex couples generally must file their 2013 federal income tax return using either the married filing jointly or married filing separately filing status.
Individuals who were in same-sex marriages may, but are not required to, file amended returns choosing to be treated as married for federal tax purposes for one or more prior tax years still open under the statute of limitations.
Generally, the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Seek some guidance from a tax preparer if you decide to file amended returns.
Further guidance is coming from the IRS on cafeteria plans and on how qualified retirement plans and other tax-favored arrangements should treat same-sex spouses for periods before the effective date of this Revenue Ruling.
Further guidance on Social Security benefits is also coming. Social Security is now processing some retirement spouse claims for same-sex couples and paying benefits where they are due. If you believe you are eligible apply right away.
I would strongly suggest though going to your local social security office and getting some help with the application.
One more thing: Revenue Ruling 2013-17, along with updated Frequently Asked Questions for same-sex couples and updated FAQs for registered domestic partners and individuals in civil unions, are available today on IRS.gov. See also Publication 555, Community Property.