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WASHINGTON (AFP) – The U.S. government on Thursday announced that legally married gay couples will be treated the same as married couples for federal tax purposes.

The decision applies to legally married same-sex couples whether they live in a state that recognizes the marriage or not, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said in a statement.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide. It provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said in the statement.

“This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

Those couples will have the same treatment under federal tax law provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.

Photo Credit: AFP/Justin Sullivan

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