IRS Proposes Rules to Implement Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

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By Laura Davison

Oct. 21 — The Internal Revenue Service Oct. 21 proposed rules that say the terms “husband and wife” apply to couples in same-sex marriages recognized in any state for federal tax purposes.

The proposed regulations (REG-148998-13) implement the Supreme Court’s June decision in Obergefell v. Hodges and interpret terms such as husband, wife and spouse to be neutrally applied to include partners of either sex. They apply to federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an individual retirement account, and claiming the earned income tax credit.

Since the 5-4 Supreme Court decision provided a right to same-sex marriage in all states, government agencies have been updating rules to reflect the change. Prior to the ruling, 13 states didn't recognize gay or lesbian marriages.

“Today, with new rules enshrining marriage equality in our tax laws, we’re taking another important step in a very long march,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in an e-mailed statement. “Still, there’s a long way to go in protecting the rights of LGBTQ Americans in the workplace, health care, housing, and many other areas. The fight for equality will continue.”

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Domestic Partner and Same-Sex Marriage Benefits chapter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Davison in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brett Ferguson at