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Developments Impacting Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

As federal and state agencies and courts further examine the implications of the Supreme Court of the United States’ ruling on same-sex marriage in U.S. v. Windsor, the laws and regulations governing employee benefits for...more

California Legislative Update: July 2014

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed into law a number of bills that will impact the employer community. A brief summary of these new laws, along with links to the bills, can be found below....more

More Post-Windsor Tax Guidance: IRS Issues Letter Outlining Steps for Individuals to Obtain Tax Refunds for Same-Sex Spousal...

On June 27, 2014, the IRS published a letter outlining the steps taxpayers should take in order to obtain a refund for taxes paid on the value of employer-sponsored health coverage provided to an employee’s same-sex spouse....more

What Marriage Equality Means for Your Employee Benefits

A frequent headline in the news as of late has been “Federal Judge in State X finds same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional” and then shortly thereafter “Hundreds of couples marry in State X” complete with a picture of a...more

What's New Under the Defense of Marriage Act?

A major reason that employee benefits, such as employer- provided healthcare and retirement plans, exist is that they provide a tax-advantaged way for an employer to provide additional compensation to an employee, her spouse,...more

Exclusion of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses Did Not Interfere with Protected Rights under ERISA

In Roe v. Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield, a federal district court addressed the issue of whether a self-funded health plan could include language that denied dependent coverage to same-sex spouses without violating Section...more

Despite Windsor, Federal Court Rejects Challenge to a Self-Insured ERISA Health Plan’s Denial of Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in US v. Windsor, the requirement that an ERISA health plan provide health coverage for same-sex spouses has often hinged on whether an employee benefit plan was insured or...more

ERISA: Self-Funded Benefit Plans May Not Have To Cover Same-Sex Spouses?

You already know that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited recognition of same-sex marriages, was declared unconstitutional. United States v. Windsor, 133 S.Ct. 2675 (2013)....more

HHS Guidance Clarifies that Insurance Companies Must Make Available Health Insurance Coverage for Same-Sex Spouses

On March 14, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance clarifying the final regulations implementing Section 2702 of the Public Health Service Act...more

High Court Employee Benefits Cases: A Review and Look Ahead

Having settled into the new year, we reflect on decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 that are likely to have a significant impact in the world of pension and welfare employee benefits and, in some cases, already have...more

Same-Gender Marriage Implications for Employee Benefit Plans

In the summer of 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision in U.S. v. Windsor, striking down a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and eliminating the requirement that federal law recognize only marriages...more

IRS Releases FAQs on Cafeteria Plan Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses Post-DOMA

The Internal Revenue Service has released a series of FAQs to answer several outstanding questions following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor, which struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The most...more

Religious Institutions Update - January 2014

On the heels of controversy surrounding the Internal Revenue Service's treatment of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status, the Treasury Department is accepting comments on proposed regulations that will...more

More Post-Windsor Guidance from the IRS Relating to Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses: Cafeteria Plan Changes, Flexible Spending...

Prior to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Windsor decision that repealed Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), same-sex spouses were not recognized as spouses for federal tax and benefits purposes. In the immediate...more

Latest Post-Windsor Guidance from IRS Addresses Issues for Cafeteria Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, and Health Savings...

In its latest addition to guidance concerning the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor, the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") has issued Notice 2014-1 to address certain issues relating to...more

IRS Issues Welfare Plan Guidance for Same-Sex Spouses in View of DOMA Ruling

The Internal Revenue Service has published a new notice that addresses specific questions on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor, recognizing same-sex marriage, affects elections and contributions under...more

At Year End, IRS Issues Guidance On Cafeteria Plan Transitional Rules For Windsor

Finally, some guidance on mid-year cafeteria plan changes that many employers have already permitted in the wake of United States v. Windsor. On December 16, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2014-1,...more

IRS Publishes Post-Windsor Guidance in Notice 2014-1

A significant amount of confusion remains for employee benefit plan sponsors regarding the impact of the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor and its holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act...more

Federal District Court (In Its Capacity As An Employer) Must Reimburse Employee for the Cost of Health Benefits for her Same-Sex...

The Ninth Circuit Judicial Council, an administrative body that reviews decisions of the court’s chief judge, recently weighed in on an issue involving same-sex domestic partner health benefits in the post-Windsor world. The...more

IRS Answers Some Outstanding Questions For Same Sex Spouses

Since the Supreme Court's decision in United States v. Windsor holding the Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA") to be unconstitutional, and the related guidance issued thereafter by the Internal Revenue Service certain questions...more

New IRS Guidance on Same-Sex Spouses and Cafeteria Plans

Action by December 31st Required for Safe Harbor - Yesterday, the IRS issued specific guidance on how employers can address issues arising from the change in tax treatment for same-sex spouses under cafeteria plans. ...more

IRS Provides Some Guidance on Federal Tax Matters for Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this year, in the case of U.S. v. Windsor, the US Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Under Section 3 of DOMA, the definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" had been limited to a...more

Beneficiary Designations and Spouse Definitions Need to be Updated - 16th State Approves Same Sex Marriage While 3rd Circuit...

Yesterday Hawaii adopted the Hawaii Marriage Equity Act of 2013 recognizing same sex marriages as of December 2, 2013 and permitting persons in civil unions in Hawaii to apply to be married without first requiring dissolution...more

Update – Administering Benefits in a Post-DOMA World

Here is a brief update to our September 24, 2013 alert, which addressed the administration of employee benefits as well as federal income taxes and FMLA leave following this summer’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in United...more

Benefits Update, No. 4, November 2013: The World Post-Windsor: Rethinking Benefit And Leave Policies For Same-Sex Spouses

Following a highly-publicized U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent guidance from both the Labor Department (DOL) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), employers need to rethink how they treat same-sex spouses under...more

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