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Same-Sex Spousal Benefits: Implications for HR of the Supreme Court’s Windsor Decision

Same-Sex Spousal Benefits: Implications for HR of the Supreme Court’s Windsor Decisionexplains IRS guidance on the prospective and retrospective treatment of same-sex spousal benefits, the continuing conflict between federal and some state law and its implications for employers, and differing interpretations by federal agencies as to the circumstances under which same-sex marriages are covered by Windsor.

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DOMA’s definition of marriage applies to over 1,100 federal laws, including many affecting the rights of employees with same-sex spouses.

The Windsor ruling has wide-ranging implications for every employee benefit plan, including tax implications, qualified plan implications, and beneficiary designation implications. Same-sex marriages legally entered into in a U.S. state or territory, the District of Columbia or a foreign country are to be recognized for all federal tax purposes, including income taxes and employee benefits, even if the couple lives in a state that does not allow or recognize same-sex marriages, according to IRS guidance implementing the Supreme Court Windsor decision.

An appendix detailing state tax treatment of same-sex spousal benefits is also provided.


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