March 01, 2014

The Estate Planning World Transformed: The IRS Recognizes Same-Sex Marriages

Jay A. Soled

For the past century, the Internal Revenue Code has not recognized same-sex marriages. In United States v. Windsor, 570 U.S. 12 (2013), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS summarized the Supreme Court’s ruling and its tax effects; it declared that same-sex couples who legally married in jurisdictions that recognized their marriages would be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This ruling has important transfer tax and planning implications.

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