IRS to recognize same-sex marriages
As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses will have to opt for filing as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.”
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — All legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state in which they live recognizes the marriage, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) said Thursday.
The federal-rules change is one of many stemming from the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That ruling found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits but left open the question of how the federal government would administer those benefits.
As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses cannot file federal tax returns as if they were single. Instead, they will have to opt for filing as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” The location of their marriage — as long as it is legal — or residence does not matter: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany, N.Y., and move to Alabama will be treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said. “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 said the ruling applies to “all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.”
The ruling applies to all legal marriages made in the United States or foreign countries. It does not extend to civil unions, registered domestic partnerships or other legal relationships, the Treasury said. Same-sex spouses will be able to file as married couples for the 2013 tax year, the Treasury said, and will be able to file amended returns for certain prior tax years, meaning that many couples might be eligible for refunds.
Court upholds ban on aversion therapy
SAN FRANCISCO — A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with California on Thursday and upheld the first law in the nation banning a psychological treatment that seeks to turn gay youngsters straight.
In a unanimous opinion, the court found the state law barring so-called gay-aversion therapy legal in every respect.
The judges said trying to change a minor’s sexual orientation through intense therapy appeared dangerous, and California lawmakers properly showed that the sexual-orientation change efforts were outside the scientific mainstream and have been rejected for good reason.
The California Legislature cited reports, experts and anecdotes involving suicides, substance abuse and other behavior by young recipients of the therapy before members voted last year to ban it for minors. The activities of pastors and lay counselors who are unlicensed but provide such therapy through church programs are not covered by the law.
— The Associated Press