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Same-sex marriages recognized by IRS

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning that same-sex marriages are now recognized nationwide by the Internal Revenue Service, following the June 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges. In that case, the plaintiff who was in a same-relationship with his dying partner in Ohio, which did not recognized same-sex marriages, flew with his partner to Maryland, a state that did, to get married in order to become eligible for survivors' benefits.

In response to the Supreme Court ruling, the IRS announced that it will recognize same-sex marriages in all of the states for tax purposes, whether those states have legalized same-sex marriage or not. Before the decision, IRS only allowed those in same-sex marriages to file jointly if they lived in a state or U.S. territory that allowed unions of this type. This meant that married same-sex couples in 13 states could not file as a couple.

According to the Treasury Department, the new rules apply to all federal tax provisions of the federal government that have marriage as a factor. This includes exemptions, deductions and filing status. In addition, a same-sex spouse who is on his or her spouse's employer-provided health insurance will now be eligible to receive that benefit on a tax-free basis.

Same-sex couples still face some legal issues in some states that heterosexual couples do not, such as the question of adoption rights. Some states are still struggling with how to extend their divorce laws to couples of the same sex whose marriages are ending. A family law attorney might be of assistance to clients who need advice on these types of issues.

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