The Supreme Court’s ruling last month that same-sex couples have the same rights in all states has a multitude of tax and financial implications for same-sex couples in states that previously did not recognize same-sex marriages.  Some of the more important ones are:

  • Residents of Kentucky who were married in other states have two years from the date tax was paid to claim refunds for overpaid taxes.  This may be particularly beneficial where one spouse had income and the other had losses.
  • For residents of Kentucky where one spouse died, the executor may be able to file a claim for a refund of inheritance taxes.
  • Same sex couples now have equal rights under state property, family, and probate laws, state-run healthcare programs and adoption as well as the right to be treated as next of kin in medical situations such as hospital visitation and medical decisions where the other spouse is unable to make such decisions.
  • Same sex spouses must waive joint and survivor benefits from a retirement plan.
  • Employers will need to review their benefit plans to ensure equal treatment and employees may need to adjust their benefit options.
  • Employers will also need to review employee handbooks, enrollment forms and apply parity to such areas as bereavement leave, relocation allowances, employee discount plans, health insurance plans, retirement plans, death benefits, and equal employment opportunity policies.

In addition to considering claims for refunds and working with employers on parity, same-sex couples whose marriages are now legally recognized should review all of their estate, retirement, medical and general power of attorney, etc. documents as well as beneficiary designations, how assets are titled (e.g., joint ownership with right of survivorship is now available).

Please let us know if we can be of assistance regarding this marriage equality ruling.