US Supreme Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional


The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act definition of marriage as being limited to a union between a man and a woman. By striking down that definition, the Court has opened up access to same-sex married couples of numerous federal benefits and privileges. Two 5-4 opinions on the subject were issued today
From a tax perspective, this likely opens such couples to the ability to file joint income tax returns, to obtain the benefit of the marital deduction for estate and gift tax purposes, and the ability to split gifts for gift tax return purposes. How this will work out for same-sex married persons who got married in a state that permits it, but presently reside in a state that does not is an important question.

Taxpayers who are affected, and are approaching the statute of limitations for income, estate and gift tax return amended returns and refund claims, may want to beat a hasty path to their tax preparers to file amended returns if that will yield tax savings for them for prior returns that were filed as unmarried.
I have not yet seen the opinion, so more refined comments will be forthcoming.

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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