Changing Attitudes towards DOMA

In June the Supreme Court heralded the way for change. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was deemed unconstitutional; marriage should no longer refer to the union between a man and woman only.

The ruling paved the way for same-sex couples to receive the same tax benefits as their married counterparts. Comment at the time of this ruling was substantial. The effect in real world terms remained unanswered by the ruling and it was therefore up to the IRS and Department of Treasury to provide some much needed clarification about how the new rules would work. Thankfully, they responded.

If you married in a state that legally recognises same-sex marriage, for federal tax purposes, you will now be be able to utilise the benefits associated with filing as a married taxpayer. It is fair to say that the benefits are numerous and it cannot be understated that this ruling has far reaching consequences in both the income tax and estate and gift tax arenas.

Not only will this affect taxpayers going forward, the IRS has specifically provided that they will recognise this filing status retrospectively enabling taxpayers to amend their previously filed returns and potentially claim refunds. The Statute of Limitations does dictate that refunds are likely only to be recognised for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax years but this is a benefit some commentators were unsure the IRS would confer.

If you would like to discuss this with us further and explore the potential for amending returns we would be happy to help.