In the first two of what are expected to be many post-Defense of Marriage Act guidelines, the IRS announced Thursday that same-sex couples can file joint tax returns, while the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said same-sex spouses now have equal access to nursing homes via Medicare.

Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in a news release the new rules will provide "clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide."

Not all same-sex couples will benefit from the decision; some may pay higher income taxes as a result of the "marriage penalty." All will have the opportunity to amend their tax returns from 2010-12 – but only if they choose.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.