Back in June, shortly after the groundbreaking ruling in U.S. v. Windsor, I wrote a post in which I asked whether Florida same sex partners would get federal benefits. Though the ruling struck down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), it did not touch on state DOMAs. Further, part of the rationale for the Windsor ruling was that marriage laws should be consistent within states so that if a state recognized gay marriage for the purpose of state benefits, then the federal government should recognize gay marriage in that state for the purpose of federal benefits.
But would the federal government recognize the marriage of those same sex couples who legally got married in one state, but then moved to a state, such as Florida, that did not recognize same sex marriage?
The answer, at least for one benefit, appears to be yes.
From the Washington Post:
The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced on Thursday that they would treat legal same-sex marriages the same as heterosexual marriages for federal tax purposes.
The new policy, which comes in response to a June Supreme Court ruling that overturned a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, allows same-sex spouses to file tax returns as married couples regardless of whether they live in jurisdictions that recognize gay unions.
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement that the move “assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”
The new policy will only apply to legally married couples, and not to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized by certain states.
Same-sex couples married before the DOMA ruling will have the option of filing amended returns for one or more prior tax years, according to the announcement.
This new rule now prioritizes the state of celebration (where the marriage took place) over the state where the couples reside.
This also means that, if a Florida couple wanted to get married and receive federal tax benefits, they would have to solemnize their marriage in a state that recognizes marriage equality. Unfortunately, a domestic partnership or civil union created in this state does not count for federal benefit purposes.
If you have questions regarding your Florida family law rights and you wish to schedule a consultation with a Tampa Bay Family Law Attorney, contact The Law Firm of Adam B. Cordover, P.A., at 813-443-0615 or fill out our contact form.