Individuals married to the same-sex spouse ought to know that the way to file their tax return has recently changed. If you are one of them you may even want to change some returns you filed in the past because from now on the IRS will treat same-sex spouses as married for all tax purposes. This change applies as long as you got married in a location that recognizes same-sex marriages, either in the United States or another part of the world. It doesn’t matter whether you were living there while you were married and it doesn’t matter where you live now.
The ruling issued on August 29, 2013 states that a married couple of same-sex does not need to live in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage. This ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships or civil unions.
This change applies for all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor such as:
- Filing status.
- Exemptions – Personal and dependency.
- Standard deductions.
- Employee benefits.
- IRA contributions.
- Earned Income Tax Credits and Child Tax Credits.
It all means that you now need to file your federal income tax return as either Married Filing Jointly or as Married Filing Separately.
You don’t need to amend your returns from the previous years, but you may want to by filing Form 1040X. Every situation is different but in some instances you may even qualify for a refund. Past tax returns can be amended for up to three year so there is still a chance to file a Form 1040X for 2013, 2012, and 2011. In some circumstances it is possible to still file an amended return for 2010 and earlier despite the three-year statue of limitations. This is possible in some circumstances where a taxpayer had signed an agreement with the IRS to maintain the status of limitations open.