The US Supreme Court’s recent ruling in United States v. Windsor (“Windsor”) struck down key portions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) as unconstitutional. This decision will allow many same-sex spouses to enjoy federal tax and survivor benefits previously available only to those in opposite-sex marriages, and has implications for employers and administrators of retirement and group health plans.

Background -

Windsor began with a federal estate tax refund claim brought by Edith Windsor following her wife’s death. In 2007, Windsor and her wife, Thea Spyer, were married in Canada after forty years together as residents of New York. While New York did not permit same-sex marriages at that time, by a directive from the governor of New York, such marriages were recognized if valid where performed. Upon Spyer’s death in 2009, Windsor inherited her entire estate as her surviving spouse. However, because DOMA restricted the federal definition of “marriage” to opposite-sex couples, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) did not recognize the couple’s marriage for federal estate tax purposes. Accordingly, the IRS refused to permit Spyer’s estate to claim the marital deduction, and Windsor’s inheritance was reduced by the full amount of the estate’s $363,053 federal estate tax liability. Windsor filed a refund claim on the grounds that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminated against same-sex married couples.

Please see full memo below for more information.

LOADING PDF: If there are any problems, click here to download the file.

Written by:

Published In:

IRS
Tax

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Shearman & Sterling LLP | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.
×
Loading...
×