It's an incredible day for the United States. Thanks to the Supreme Court's history-making decision to make gay marriage legal in all 50 states, same-sex couples can obtain marriage licenses in any state in the country. A clear step towards equality in the United States, this historic ruling still leaves us asking a lot of questions. One of which being, will same-sex couples get the same tax benefits as straight couples in every state in the country?
As of right now, the answer looks like yes.
After DOMA, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was struck down in June 2013, the IRS announced on August 29, 2013 that the IRS would recognize any same-sex marriage for tax purposes.
Same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor....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.
Unfortunately, this ruling did not apply to "registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law." Luckily, this is no longer an issue under the latest Supreme Court ruling.
According to the Supreme Court's blog, the recent case examined two things:
1. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex? 2. Does the Fourteenth Amendment require a state to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state?
Now, gay couples will receive equal treatment in the eyes of the law.
When filing taxes together, some couples will end up paying more money, some less — it depends on the specific situation. After the IRS made the 2013 announcement, New York Times personal fiance reporter Tara Siegel Bernard wrote that,
If one spouse stays at home or earns significantly less than the other, it usually results in what’s known as a marriage bonus, where a couple owes less in tax when they file jointly. Higher-income couples with two working spouses making similar incomes are likely to face a marriage penalty, which means they’d pay more.
Although written over a year ago, the same idea can be applied to the recent ruling. According to Slate, when filing together, same-sex couples can save on their health benefits taxes, inheritance taxes, and social security survivor benefits, among other things. Regardless of whether couples will pay more or less money when filing jointly, most will agree that equality in the eyes of the government is a success. Images: Getty Images (1)