UIC employees see tax breaks for same-sex marriage

Couples celebrate civil unions in 2011

UIC employees who married a same-sex partner in states where their marriage is legally recognized can now add their spouse to university-provided insurance benefits. Photo: L. Thomson/UIC

UIC employees who married a same-sex partner in states where their marriage is legally recognized can now add their spouse to university-provided insurance benefits.

Effective Sept. 16, a ruling by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service says that same-sex couples who married in jurisdictions where their marriages are legal are considered “married” for federal tax purposes.

The ruling applies in states, such as Illinois, that do not recognize same-sex marriages. It does not apply to same-sex couples in civil union partnerships.

For same-sex couples who are legally married, the changes will save money, said Katie Ross, senior director of university human resources administration.

Before the ruling, same-sex couples who added their domestic partner or civil union partner to their benefits paid income tax on the portion of the benefit plan paid by the university, Ross said.

“This was an extra cost that opposite-sex married couples did not have to pay,” Ross said.

Employees who married their same-sex partner before Sept. 16 must change their benefits by Nov. 14 by submitting a marriage certificate and completing the required form at http://1.usa.gov/19qhPco

Employees who entered into a same-sex marriage on or after Sept. 16 must submit enrollment paperwork within 60 days of the marriage.

The ruling is considered a qualifying change, which means employees can add a spouse or stepchildren and opt in or out of a Central Management Services health plan.

Coverage is effective the date the employee submits the request.

Because Illinois does not legally recognize same-sex marriages, it can pose a challenge for same-sex couples, Ross said.

“From a practical perspective, it can make navigating personal issues more complicated for same-sex couples — insurance benefits is just one such issue,” Ross said. “However, the recent revenue ruling clarifies that for federal tax purposes, the marriage from one state will be recognized regardless of the state where the couple lives.”

Jurisdictions where same-sex marriages are recognized as legal include: Rhode Island, Minnesota, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Washington, New York, New Hampshire, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts and California.

Same-sex marriages are also recognized in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Uruguay and New Zealand.

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312-996-0662
christyb@uic.edu

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