Same Sex Marriages Now Recognized in Florida . . . sorta

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Same Sex Marriage & Divorce on Friday, August 30, 2013.

Florida doesn’t mince words when it comes to same sex divorce:

Marriages between persons of the same sex entered into in any jurisdiction . . . are not recognized . . . in this state.

With Florida Statute 741.212 written so clearly, you’d think there would be absolutely no recognition of same sex marriages in Florida. But you’d be wrong.

Yesterday, the IRS made a very important announcement that actually gives some recognition to same sex marriages – even though the taxpayer lives in Florida:

The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service ruled that same-sex couples, legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriages, will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. The ruling applies regardless of whether the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage or a jurisdiction that does not recognize same-sex marriage.

Under the ruling, same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes, including income and gift and estate taxes.

The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including:

  • Filing status on tax returns
  • Claiming personal and dependency exemptions
  • Taking the standard deduction
  • Employee benefits
  • IRA contributions, and
  • Claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Essentially, the IRS is giving recognition to taxpayers in same sex marriages, even though the taxpayers live in Florida.

Granted, it’s not the State of Florida recognizing same sex marriages per se, but it is recognition of same sex married in Florida. Given the fight waged over the years for any recognition, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

Without any explanation, the IRS ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.

For tax buffs out there, this may be a slight policy change. The IRS used to look at the law of the state of domicile, and now looks at the law of the state where the marriage took place.

With the IRS’s new announcement – that it will recognize all same-sex marriages valid in the state where the marriage took place, instead of the place where the taxpayer is living – the IRS is taking serious the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in the DOMA case.