December 10, 2015

New IRS Guidance for Obergefell: How Will It Affect Your Plan?

On December 9, the Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2015-86, which provides guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges affects benefit plans, including retirement plans. In Obergefell, the Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples on the same terms and conditions that apply to opposite-gender spouses, and to recognize legal same-gender marriages entered into in other states. The Notice confirms that tax-qualified retirement plans are not required to make any amendments as a result of Obergefell. For more information on Obergefell, see Segal Consulting's July 1, 2015 Update.

On December 9, the Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2015-86, which provides guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges affects benefit plans, including retirement plans and group health plans. In Obergefell, the Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples on the same terms and conditions that apply to opposite-gender spouses, and to recognize legal same-gender marriages entered into in other states. The Notice confirms that tax-qualified retirement plans are not required to make any amendments as a result of Obergefell. In addition, the Notice confirms that plan sponsors that permitted mid-year enrollment of same-gender spouses could do so under election change rules contained in the typical section 125 cafeteria plan. For more information on Obergefell, please see Segal Consulting's July 1, 2015 Update.

On December 9, the Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2015-86, which provides guidance on how the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges affects benefit plans, including retirement plans and group health plans. In Obergefell, the Court ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires all states to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples on the same terms and conditions that apply to opposite-gender spouses, and to recognize legal same-gender marriages entered into in other states. The Notice confirms that tax-qualified retirement plans are not required to make any amendments as a result of Obergefell. However, public sector retirement plans may need to implement operational changes in order to offer same-gender spouses any spousal benefits under the plan (including spousal consent opportunities) that are governed by state law, particularly in states whose laws prohibiting same-gender marriage were voided by the Obergefell decision. In addition, the Notice confirms that plan sponsors that permitted mid-year enrollment of same-gender spouses could do so under election change rules contained in the typical section 125 cafeteria plan. For more information on Obergefell, see Segal Consulting's July 1, 2015 Update.

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