As anticipated in our previous Compliance Alert, the IRS and Treasury announced today that all legal same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes—including tax laws related to employee benefits. This tax treatment applies even if a same-sex couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage. The administration also said that same-sex couples can begin filing tax returns as "married filing jointly" or "married filing separately" for the 2013 tax year. It also addresses how employees can file claims for refunds for income taxes on income previously imputed to them based on the extension of health and welfare benefits extended to a same-sex spouse.
The ruling does not apply to registered domestic partnerships, civil unions, or similar formal relationships recognized under state law.
Additional guidance is expected in the future regarding cafeteria plans and other tax-advantaged accounts and we will issue additional Alerts as guidance is issued.