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U.S. v. Windsor

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Tax Ramifications of Supreme Court Decision on Defense of Marriage Act

In a 5 to 4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has found that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the equal protection clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution as applied to persons of the same sex who are legally married under the laws of their state (U.S. v. Windsor).

This decision opens the door for same-sex married couples to enjoy many federal tax-related benefits previously available only to opposite-sex married couples. These include income tax benefits, estate and gift tax benefits, taxpayer-friendly employee benefits, and more. Same-sex couples must now also deal with circumstances under the tax law that may create a so-called “marriage penalty.” Employers must prepare for extensive changes in the treatment of same-sex couples, and provisions under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are also affected.

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