Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional

3906 Words Nov 20th, 2014 16 Pages
Defense of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional:
How the Supreme Court’s Ruling on DOMA Will Affect Same-Sex Taxpayers
Melissa Williams
Troy University
November 20, 2014

Author’s Note
This paper was prepared for Federal Tax Research 6684T, taught by Dr. Kaye Sheridan.
On June 26, 2013, The United States Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enabling same-sex couples legally married under state law to be recognized for the purpose and benefit of federal law. Section 3 of DOMA previously defined marriage as the legal union of two persons of the opposite sex. This definition was challenged in several court cases for violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Edith Windsor in U.S. v. Windsor, declaring DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional and allowing same-sex couples to be recognized as married for federal purposes. This opens up several opportunities within federal income tax and estate and gift tax. Some of these benefits include higher standard deductions and gain exclusion; opportunity to lower tax bracket through combining incomes; and entitlement to the marital deduction, gift splitting, and portability of DSUE. Marriage also results in tax disadvantages such as the marriage penalty, joint and several liability, and refund offsetting. Taxpayers and tax preparers should be aware of the new planning opportunities available to married same-sex couples,…
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