The federal government announced Thursday that all legally married same sex couples can now file joint federal tax returns. The ruling applies even if they live in states that do not formally recognize same sex marriage. A spokesperson for a regional center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people has expressed support for the ruling stating that it sends a clear signal to the country that same-sex couples are to be treated equally by the Internal Revenue Service. The ruling would apply to states that do not recognize same-sex marriages.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew affirmed that the ruling provides unequivocal tax filing guidance for all legal unions across the country. Efforts are currently underway to overturn a local rulings which forbids gays and lesbians from legal unions.

There are rising concerns about the diverse nature of same-sex couples in the country who are legally married in one state, but live in another state which does not recognize their union. Thus, they cannot get divorced or divide property since they are not legally recognized in some states. Implications might trickle down to the state level in these cases.

The United States Treasury has added that the ruling will result in fair and equitable tax treatments like those enjoyed by heterosexual couples. It will also pertain to all government tax parameters in which marriage or divorce are factors, including status, deductions and exemptions. It will also cover same-sex unions and their termination in any state where such marriages are recognized.

If you or someone you hold dear are in a same sex union and are contemplating divorce, there can be tax complications as new rulings are implemented. It is wise to consult an expert in the field who can clearly explain new laws to you.

Source:, “IRS: Same-sex couples can file joint federal returns” Carol Hopkins, Aug. 31, 2013