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DOMA Ruling Will Reduce Income Taxes For Some N.H. Couples

A New Hampshire lawyer says one of the key changes following today’s overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act has to do with income taxes. 

Let’s say you’re in a same-sex marriage recognized by the state of New Hampshire.  Your spouse works for a company that covers both of your health benefits. Before Wednesday, when the Supreme Court overturned DOMA, you had to pay federal income taxes on those health benefits. 

New Hampshire lawyer John Rich says, that’s because in the eyes of IRS, your same-sex spouse was not considered a member of your family: 

Currently New Hampshire employees who have same sex partners are generally paying income taxes for the benefits that they receive in the case of health care. 

Now that DOMA has been overturned, that’s about to change.  The question, Rich says, is whether those income taxes will end immediately, retroactively, or not until 2014.

It will end as soon as the Internal Revenue Service issues some guidance as to how 2013 imputed income issues will be handled.

Rich, an employment tax lawyer, says employers are likely breathing a big sigh of relief, now that federal and state laws are more aligned.  He says the negative impacts for employers are largely at the margins, with potential costs for things like death benefits.