The US Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service have each issued a ruling that same-sex couples that have been legally married in jurisdictions that recognize their marriage will be treated as married for federal tax purposes. This ruling will apply regardless of whether or not the couple is currently living in a jurisdiction that recognizes same sex marriage.
Because of this ruling, legally married same sex couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes. This will include gift tax provisions, which are instrumental in most estate planning techniques. This ruling greatly expands the options same sex couples have for managing their assets. Married same sex couples should have their estate planning documents reviewed by an attorney to make sure they are fully utilizing the benefits of these new tax provisions. Further more, refund claims can still be filed for tax years 2010, 2011, and 2012 if claiming a marital deduction would have resulted in a higher refund.
The Social Security Administration has also changed their policy in regards to same-sex couples. The current policy is to give benefits to same-sex couples that were legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages and also who are currently living in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages when they file a claim for benefits. The Social Security Administration now recommends that same-sex couples who live in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage should still file for benefits in order to preserve a filing date that could potentially be used for calculating future benefits.
The Obama administration has also made changes in policy at the Veteran’s Administration. The VA will now give benefits to same-sex spouses whose marriages are recognized by the state where they live or where the veteran was discharged.
If you have questions about how new laws and policies, and ever evolving policy changes, will affect your particular situation, an attorney who specializes in helping same-sex couples should help you get answers and decide what actions would be most beneficial to you.
Clement Law Firm, Asheville, NC