New IRS guidance on employee benefits for same‑sex spouses

After the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a major section of the Defense of Marriage Act as being unconstitutional, employers waited for governmental agencies to provide guidance as to how that ruling would affect the workplace. Some of those questions have now been answered.

Employee benefits attorney Brandon Long was featured in a Q&A with The Oklahoman discussing new IRS guidance governing employee benefit plans.

Long explained that under the new guidance, employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans such as 401(k), 403(b) and pension plans must recognize a valid same-sex marriage from another jurisdiction — even if the married couple lives in a state such as Oklahoma that does not recognize same-sex marriage — in order to maintain federal tax compliance. The newly released IRS guidance, which goes into effect September 16, 2013, also addresses how federal taxes are to be assessed on individual employee benefits.

“The IRS also intends to issue further guidance on the retroactive application of the ruling to employee benefit plans, which will likely address the steps employers must take to amend their plans, as well as any necessary corrections that employers might be required to take relating to plan operations before the future guidance is issued,” said Long.

You can read the entire article here.