Report offers guidance on tax implications of Supreme Court gay marriage ruling

Thomson Reuters has released an overview of the Supreme Court’s ruling that strikes down section three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional. The report is designed to help tax advisers understand the far-reaching implications of the decision.

DOMA had required same-sex spouses to be treated as unmarried for purposes of federal law. “The Supreme Court’s decision opens up several tax breaks newly available to legally married same-sex individuals,” said Catherine Murray, tax analyst at Thomson Reuters and an author of the report. “These individuals and their advisors should begin planning now to determine actions to take when the IRS issues guidance.”

The Thomson Reuters Checkpoint report, which features explanations, observations, and illustrations, is available for download at no cost at http://yourcheckpoint.thomsonreuters.com/DOMA.

The report discusses new opportunities for married same-sex couples to:

  • File a joint tax return.
  • File an amended federal tax return for returns previously filed separately.
  • Obtain tax-free employer health insurance coverage for spouses.
  • Stretch distributions from a deceased spouse’s qualified retirement plan under more favorable rules than nonspousal beneficiaries.
  • Deduct the alimony paid to a spouse or former spouse.
  • Obtain innocent spouse protections for tax liability.
  • Amend estate plans to take advantage of estate and gift tax provisions.


“There’s still a great deal to be clarified following the court’s opinion,” said Murray. “The IRS is expected to provide guidance on conflicting state laws, the effective date, retroactive considerations, and more.”

The report is an example of the practical, insightful information available on Thomson Reuters Checkpoint, the industry-leading and award-winning online service that provides research, news, analysis, and productivity tools to tax, audit, accounting, legal, trade, and finance professionals.

Thomson Reuters also offers guidance and training on the DOMA ruling. For guidance, visit: Employee Benefits for Domestic Partners: Design, Taxation, and Administration and PPC’s Guide to Practical Estate Planning. For training, visit: Supreme Court Invalidates DOMA: Impacts for Employer-Sponsored Plans and The Next Step for DOMA: Implications and Opportunities. A complete list of resources is available in the report.

Other recent Checkpoint reports include:

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