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401(k) plans must recognize same-sex spouses

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in Office Management,Payroll Management

The fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 U.S. v. Windsor decision continues to percolate. The IRS now says that 401(k) plans that define marriage and spouses in terms of heterosexuality must be amended to define those terms in a gender-neutral way.

Flip side: Plans that already use gender-neutral terms need not be amended, but must afford same-sex spouses all spousal rights.

Caution: If your plan requires you to define these terms in accordance with a state law that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage (commonly called a choice-of-law provision), your plan will need to be amended. (Notice 2014-19, IRB 2014-17, Notice 2014-37, IRB 2014-23)

Plan amendments. 401(k) plans must reflect the outcome of Windsor as of June 26, 2013, the date of the Supreme Court’s ruling. In general, you have until Dec. 31, 2014, to amend your plan. The IRS has clarified that 401(k) or (m) safe harbor plans may make these amendments without jeop...(register to read more)

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