The federal government said Thursday it will recognize same-sex marriages for federal tax purposes, regardless of where the couple resides. The ruling applies to all same-sex couples who are legally married, even if the couple lives in a state that does not legally recognize same-sex marriages.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a statement. "This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
The Treasury Department also added that refund claims "can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012."
The federal tax status follows through on the Supreme Court's ruling in June to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996, denied federal benefits to same-sex couples in states where same-sex marriage is legally recognized.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin applauded the Treasury ruling in a statement saying, “With today’s ruling, committed and loving gay and lesbian married couples will now be treated equally under our nation’s federal tax laws, regardless of what state they call home."
Thirteen states and the District Columbia currently recognize same-sex marriage.