The Impact of IRS Recognition of All Legal Same-Sex Marriages on Nonprofit Organizations' Employee Benefit Plans

On August 29, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Revenue Ruling 2013-17, which answers many questions raised by the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor earlier this summer. In Windsor, the Court held that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman for federal law purposes, was unconstitutional because it denied same-sex couples equal protection under the law. Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS’s first formal response to the Windsor decision, holds that for all federal tax purposes:

The term “marriage” includes a marriage between two individuals of the same sex, provided those individuals are lawfully married under state law (or the laws of a territory or foreign jurisdiction with the legal authority to sanction marriage);

A same-sex marriage sanctioned under the laws of the state or territory in which it was performed will be recognized, even if the married couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage;

A same-sex (or opposite-sex) couple is not considered married by virtue of entering into a registered domestic partnership, civil union or other similar formal relationship recognized under state law (but not classified as a marriage under the laws of that state).

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Topics:  DOMA, Employee Benefits, IRS, Marriage, Same-Sex Marriage, SCOTUS, Tax Benefits, U.S. Treasury, US v Windsor

Published In: Family Law Updates, Health Updates, Labor & Employment Updates, Nonprofits Updates, Tax Updates

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.

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