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Legally Married Same-Sex Couples Will File Federal Returns as Married

The IRS has said that legally married same-sex couples can now file jointly. For prior years, if it is tax advantageous, they may amend their returns to claim a refund. The rules for married couples will now apply to all future tax filings. This means that a married same sex couple will now choose between Married Filing Joint and Married Filing Separate for 2013 and later. Many two-earner couples will find that they will owe more tax for 2013 by filing jointly. As a result, it would be wise to do some tax planning to avoid large tax bills.

States, however, will still enforce their own tax code and will not necessarily match the federal status. As a result, complicated state issues will begin arising in the near future.

Married same-sex couples will now be able to use the unlimited estate-tax marital deduction, elect portability of any unused estate and gift tax exemption upon death, make gifts to each other without incurring gift tax liabilities, and treat a married partner as a spouse for retirement plans.

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January 8, 2016

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