Berman & Asbel, LLP

IRS equalizes taxation for same-sex couples

Same-sex couples in Pennsylvania may be interested to learn that the IRS has now stated that the agency will recognize same-sex marriages no matter where they live in the country. This means that couples will be able to file as married even in the 13 states that still have not legalized same-sex marriage.

The IRS says that the new rule incorporates the heart of the ruling issued in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, in which the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage across the nation. Despite the ruling, 13 states still have not legalized same-sex marriage, with the majority of them being located in the deep South.

The IRS's new regulation also means that same-sex people who receive health benefits from their spouses' employer-based medical insurance policies will now be able to receive those benefits free of tax. The Treasury Department also stated that the new rule will apply to all tax provisions that have to do with married couples, including their exemptions, filing status and standard deductions.

While the IRS's move is a good one, the country still has a long way to go in order to make things equal for same-sex married couples. Same-sex partners may determine that getting married makes more sense than continuing in a long-term relationship without the benefits of marriage. A person who is in a same-sex relationship who is considering getting married may want to consult with a family law attorney. Many couples in same-sex relationships have been in them for years, accumulating a significant amount of separate property and wealth in that time. To better protect themselves in the event of marital breakdown, they may want to consider drafting a prenuptial agreement. An attorney may help a client to make certain a prenuptial agreement is fair and valid.

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