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Treasury Tax Justice to Same-Sex Couples, with a Bonus to D.C

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today applauded Thursday's U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service ruling that legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for all federal tax programs, including income, gift and estate taxes. She said that the ruling will also bring a bonus to the District of Columbia because of same-sex couples who are likely to come here to be married from non-same-sex marriage states in even greater numbers, and will have their marriage festivities here. The Treasury ruling, which detailed the implications of June's Supreme Court decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), will allow married same-sex couples to be treated the same as married heterosexual couples for federal tax purposes, regardless of their eventual state of residence. Same-sex marriages are legal in the District of Columbia and 13 states.

Norton said that the Treasury ruling is consistent with 50 years of federal tax precedents, with the Internal Revenue Service always looking to the state where the marriage occurred for purposes of testing its tax treatment. The IRS has used the same test even for common law marriages, which are not recognized by all states.

"Treasury's interpretation does justice to same-sex marriage couples, at least for federal tax purposes," said Norton. "The ruling also will prevent the uncertainty and litigation for same-sex couples and their children that results when the tax treatment of marriage is unsettled, and will make a legal marriage certificate portable, as the founders intended when they created a union of states. I appreciate the quick ruling from Treasury and its retroactive recognition for same-sex couples for the years 2010, 11 and 12. We in D.C. probably will see more and more same-sex couples from surrounding states, like Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, where same-sex marriage is not yet legal, coming to the nation's capital to get married so they can now receive the same federal tax benefits back home. Thus, this tremendous step forward for gay couples will likely bring economic byproducts to our city, simply because we acted on our beliefs in equality for all citizens."

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