June 11, 2015
Article by David Glusman, Advisory Services Partner, "Tax-Planning Tips for Married Same-Sex Couples," Featured in The Philadelphia Gay News
The LGBT community is anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court decision, expected imminently, that may finally establish same-sex marriage as a civil right in all 50 states. But regardless of how the court decides, married same-sex couples still have to be vigilant and proactive in how they protect their financial assets and plan for the future.
Following are tips about some of the most important areas to consider:
1. Married Tax Status: Determine if there is any benefit to amending previously filed income-tax returns using your "married" status. Married tax status as compared to single or head of household status could result in a lower joint-tax liability because of the netting of income and deductions, eligibility for certain tax credits and income exclusions. It could also result in an increased tax liability due to the marriage-penalty tax or because of limitations on deductions based on combined adjusted gross income. File amended returns as soon as possible; don't wait until April 15. Amended returns must be filed before the statute of limitations runs out - generally three years from the filing of the original return or two years from when the tax was paid, whichever is later.
2. Non-Taxable Fringe Benefits: Consider amending income-tax returns to exclude previous taxable income that was used to purchase job-related benefits for your spouse, such as health insurance, life insurance and other benefits. Employers may be entitled to a refund of matching FICA payments on benefits that are now non-taxable. The statute of limitations for refund claims also applies. In spite of the federal court rulings, many employers have not properly adjusted their benefit and payroll systems to account for this change. Individuals should carefully review their W-2 forms to confirm that no taxable income is improperly being added for spousal benefits. Also make sure you have advised your human-resources department of your marital status and provided them with a copy of your marriage certificate.