On August 29, the IRS issue important piece of guidance as relates to treatment of same-sex spouses in the wake of the June 26 Supreme Court decision which struck down the Defense of Marriage Act. One of the issues had to do with recognition of marriage, specifically how to treat a same-sex couple married in a state where same-gender marriages are recognized but residing in a state where same-sex marriage is not currently legally recognized.
Effective September 16, the state of celebration, rather than the state of residence, will be the factor in the federal recognition of same-gender marriages. Same-gender couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes where marriage is a factor, including estates, filing status, claiming exemptions, taking the standard deduction, contributing to an IRA and claiming tax credits. Under this guidance, qualified plans must treat a same-gender spouse as a spouse for purposes of federal tax laws if the marriage took place in one of the 13 states, the District of Columbia, or any foreign jurisdiction where same-gender marriage is currently legally recognized. Individuals within registered domestic partnerships and civil unions are not recognized as spouses, however employers are allowed to make domestic partners the default beneficiary.
- Ruling extends employee benefits to gay spouses (sfgate.com)
- US to recognize all same-sex marriages for employee benefit purposes (jurist.org)
- New Guidance on Same-Sex Marriage from DOL (lawprofessors.typepad.com)