Highlights of the IRS Guidance Regarding Same-Sex Married Couples and Taxes by Edward N. Cooper

Posted on January 14, 2014 by Edward Cooper

Before the New Year, the IRS issued new guidance regarding the tax treatment of same-sex couples following the Supreme Court’s Windsor ruling, which struck down the key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Highlights of the recent changes to IRS rules include:

•Same-sex couples may now make mid-year elections to retroactively enroll their spouses in cafeteria plans, such as Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs). The election to do so may occur only when the plan participant was lawfully married as of the Court decision on June 26, 2013, or when there has been a change in legal marital status from that date until Dec. 16, 2013.

•A plan participant who paid the cost of medical coverage for his or her same-sex spouse on an after-tax basis, may begin treating those costs on a pre-tax basis, as long as the participant informs his or her plan sponsor before the end of the plan year.

•FSA plans will now cover expenses incurred by a same-sex spouse, if the expenses were incurred no earlier than the beginning of the plan year or the date of marriage.

The 2013 maximum annual deductible contributions of $6,450 to one or more HSAs for married couples also applies to same-sex couples.


About the Author: Edward N. Cooper CPA is a tax director in the LGBT Businesses and Families practice of Berkowitz Pollack Brant. For more information, call (305) 379-7000 or e-mail