WASHINGTON — Same-sex couples who are legally married will be treated as married for federal tax purposes regardless of where they live, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service announced Thursday.
The ruling follows the Supreme Court's decision in June overturning a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act that barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages for purposes such as insurance benefits, immigration and tax filings.
The change "provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve," Treasury Secretary Jacob L. Lew said in a statement. "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."
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples who were married in one of these jurisdictions but live in another that does not recognize their marriage will still be able to file federal taxes jointly.
Advocates of same-sex marriage cheered the decision.
"This announcement makes today a celebration and relief for married same-sex couples all over America," Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, said in a statement. "At long last, the IRS will treat them as what they are: married."