Same-sex couples in Maryland and around the country had their right to marry confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court in its ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional, but with those new rights come new legal questions on taxes as well. The IRS and U.S. Treasury Department have said that married gay and lesbian couples will have the same estate administration rights as traditionally wedded Americans, but the revenue agency said it would allow amended returns only for returns filed for 2010 and later.
At the heart of the IRS allowing amended returns is that when a law is declared unconstitutional, legally it is as if that law had never existed. This would mean that from the time they were married, same-sex couples were entitled to the same tax benefits as traditionally married couples, such as how property is bequeathed from one spouse to another upon death. The IRS, however, was allowing only three years of amended returns even if the filers in question were legally married before the 2010 tax deadline.
One legal expert said that he expected there to be a challenge to the IRS's statute of limitations, most likely from a beneficiary who was not allowed to claim gifts or legacies from before 2010. Some legal professionals speculated that they would be surprised if an arbitrary IRS rule of a three-year statute of limitations would trump the established constitutional right of same-sex couples to all the benefits and responsibilities of traditional married couples.
Estate complexities may be best tackled with the assistance of a Montgomery, Maryland, attorney. An attorney with a background in estate administration may be able to help solve legal issues about wills, trusts, distribution of assets and more.