Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in U.S. v. Windsor) that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional, the IRS announced that same-sex marriages will be recognized for federal tax purposes and provided guidance relating to the impact of Windsor on certain types of employee benefits. At the same time, the IRS left a number of issues open for future guidance for qualified retirement plans.
Last week, the IRS issued Notice 2014-19, clarifying the application of Windsor to qualified retirement plans. This guidance specifically addresses issues concerning the effective date and retroactive effect of the decision as well as the timing of relevant plan amendments. The IRS also published six Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that address details such as beneficiary designations in profit-sharing plans, the applicability of choice of law provisions in qualified plans, the application of Windsor to Code Section 403(b) plans, and additional guidance relating to plan amendments.