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IRS proposed regulations recognize same-sex marriage

The Supreme Court’s June 2015 ruling in Obergefell v Hodges holds that no state can refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex mariage performed in another state. States are also unable to distinguish between marriage and same-sex-marriage.

Supreme Court justices ruled that the 14th amendment requires a state to license a marriage betwen two poeple of the same sex. States must also treat same-sex marriages no differently than heterosexual marriages.

The IRS’ proposed regulations based on the ruling will impact married couples, employers, sponsors, and administrators of employee benefit plans and executors.

Here’s what to know abut the IRS Proposed rule changes and clarifications:

  • terms indicating sex – such as “husband”, “wife”, and “husband and wife” – will be interpreted in a neutral way to include same-sex and opposite-sex spouses
  • marriages recognized by any state, possession or territory of the United States will be recognized for federal tax purposes. Marriages in foreign jurisdiction will be recognized if the marriage would be recognized in at least one state, possession, or territory of the United States.
  • the term “marriage” does not include registered domestic partnerhips, civil unions or similar relationships recognized under state law.
  • couples choose between relationship types deliberately, and for some there are benefits to being in a relationship that provies some but not all protections and responsibilities of marriage.

Comments on changes stemming from Obergefell v Hodges will be accepted through Dec. 7, 2015.

To read the Proposed rule as outlined in the Federal Register, click here.