June 26, 2015
Nanette Lee Miller, Modern Family & LGBT Services Group Co-Leader, Quoted in BBC Article, "First Marriage, Now Money Equality."
By Kate Ashford
In a much anticipated move on Friday, the United States Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal nationwide. That means that the 13 states that previously banned same-sex marriage will no longer be able to do so. It will be unconstitutional to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
From this point forward, same-sex marriages will be treated just like any other marriage, everywhere in the United States. And that includes the financial benefits that married couples are able to take advantage of that same-sex couples have not been afforded.
For same-sex couples living in states that didn't recognise their marriage prior to Friday's decision, here are some of the areas of their financial lives in which they'll see changes:
Before: Even if companies offered health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses in states that didn't recognise the marriage, it was considered taxable income.
"We saw couples where their spouse was getting healthcare, but they were having to include that on their check as an income item," Branton said.
After: Same-sex spouses are now entitled to the same tax-free benefits as any other spouse. Experts recommend checking your W2 (the form Americans get showing income, pre-tax deductions and other information for tax filing each year) to make sure the tax-free part starts happening.
"Make sure you have a corrected W2 going forward," said Nanette Lee Miller, founder and co-leader of the Modern Family and LGBT Services Practice group at Marcum LLP in New York City.
Before: Any transfer between same-sex spouses valued at more than $14,000 would be considered a gift in states that didn't recognise the marriage. The gifter would have to file a gift tax return and it would be taken off the amount that could be inherited tax-free from his or her estate.
After: "There's still a potential gift tax issue about what happened in the past, but from this point forward, you can freely transfer money back and forth," Miller said.