(CNN) Two months after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the Treasury Department on Thursday ruled that legally married same-sex couples will be treated as married for federal tax purposes.
The decision has a host of implications, even for couples who now live in states that don’t recognize same-sex marriage.
It affects how couples will be treated in terms of all federal taxes, including income taxes, estate and gift taxes, health insurance, retirement accounts and employee benefits.
The ruling applies to any same-sex couple legally married in any state, the District of Columbia, a U.S. territory or foreign country. It does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions or other formal relationships recognized under state laws.
“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a statement. “It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve.”