Last September the IRS ruled (Rev. Rul. 2013-17) 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 or not the couple lives in a jurisdiction that recognizes same-sex marriage (e.g., Georgia).
Under the IRS ruling, same-sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes. The ruling applies to all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an IRA and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit. However, the ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.
Domestic couples who were married prior to 2013 should know that the statute of limitations for filing a refund claim is three years from the date the return was filed or two years from the date the tax was paid, whichever is later. As a result, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Unfortunately, this regulation does not apply to filing state income taxes for same-sex couples living in Georgia. The Georgia Department of Revenue issued has guidance (Informational Bulletin IT-2013-10-25) instructing same-sex couples to continue filing Georgia state income tax returns as if they were single. In this case, the persons in a same-sex marriage who have filed a married filing jointly or married filing separately federal return must, for Georgia state tax purposes, recalculate the federal Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) and itemized deductions (if applicable), and file separate returns with a single status, or head of household, if qualified.