Supreme Court’s DOMA decision will have a major tax impact on many same-sex married couples

On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law. Sec. 3 defined marriage for federal benefits purposes as being between a man and a woman, thus denying federal benefits — including many tax benefits — to same-sex married couples.

The ruling means that, in states where same-sex marriage is recognized, same-sex married couples will be able to claim numerous federal tax benefits related to being married. But in some cases, these couples will also be subject to some tax burdens, such as the “marriage penalty.”

Same-sex married couples in states where their marriages are recognized should consult their tax planning advisors to determine what new opportunities may be available to them and whether there are any new burdens they should plan for. Please contact us if you have questions.