Rhode Island Division of Taxation's Declaratory Ruling Regarding Application of Marital Deduction To Same-Sex Couples

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On September 21, 2012, the Rhode Island Division of Taxation issued a declaratory ruling holding that partners of a Rhode Island civil union, as well as same-sex couples who lawfully have been married in another state, can benefit from the marital deduction for Rhode Island estate tax purposes.

The specific facts giving rise to this ruling involved a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts in 2007. In 2012, one of the spouses died, leaving a will that passed all of her assets outright to the surviving spouse. The couple also owned assets jointly with a right of survivorship, and the surviving spouse was the beneficiary of most of the decedent’s life insurance and retirement assets.

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