Yesterday was an interesting day for tax practitioners and estate planners who work with same-sex couples! As much as we wanted Supreme Court rulings in Windsor and Hollingsworth v. Perry to simplify tax planning and compliance for Oregon’s registered domestic partners, it’s not yet clear that they have. The Windsor case found a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, making it possible for same-sex couples whose states of residence view them as married to receive the same federal benefits as other married couples. But – it’s not at all clear what this means in Oregon, where we have a state constitutional ban on gay marriage, and are bordered by states where same-sex couples can marry. Oregon has provided for state legal equality for same-sex couples through registered domestic partner (RDP) status, but it appears that Windsor doesn’t require the federal government to respect RDP status as “marriage.” Would an Oregon resident’s marriage in Washington or California do the trick? Not sure about that, either.
We’re committed to watching this topic and reporting on it as the federal government issues guidance post-Windsor, but in the meantime, you might want to check out this article on Forbes.com for an overview of what we know, as well as the many things we still don’t know.
Author: Susan Sterne, CPA, Principal