When are individuals of the same sex lawfully married for federal tax purposes?
For federal tax purposes, the IRS looks to state or foreign law to determine whether individuals are married. Same-sex couples who are legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This rule applies regardless of whether the couple lives or works in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or not, to ensure uniformity in application of the federal tax laws. The IRS’ rule for recognizing same-sex marriages is called the “state of celebration” approach.
Example: A same-sex couple lives in Wisconsin, a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. They marry in Minnesota, a state that has legalized same-sex marriage. The couple is treated as married for federal tax purposes.
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