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US: New York to refund estate tax paid by same-sex spouses under DOMA

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  1. This is definitely a good news story, and one I am happy to hear! Especially in the case of Edith Windsor.

    The speed of which this refund has been announced is to be commended.

    Unfortunately over the duration of DOMA, one has to wonder how many surviving partners had to pay taxes who are no longer around to benefit from the injustice of this? how many of their estates were left to families who also paid taxes many people in the line of inheritance were also robbed as a consequence. How many families – executors found estates to be in a deficit situation vs a plus situation as a result of a prejudicial law like DOMA.

    People across the States have much to thank Edith Windsor for, especially her determination for equality and justice for all! reimbursement is to be honest is one she has well earned and deserves… plus interest!

  2. This story makes no sense. The state of New York already recognised their marriage. Why were they denying STATE estate tax benefits to a widow whose marriage was recognised?

    The US Supreme Court case was about FEDERAL recognition. It should have had no effect on what the state of New York did. The IRS owed Edith Windsor approx $365,000, not the State of New York.

    As usual PN didn’t understand the AP article they read and now are passing on poor information. How about al least providing your sources when you muddle a story up this badly.

    1. Mark, PN did not muddy the issue on this story. There is quite a thread to the situation Edith Windsor experienced. Also as survivor because of DOMA she was not given any federal recognition as surviving partner/spouse. This is the reason she brought the case against DOMA.

      The following link might help you better understand why she found her self in the unfortunate predicament after her partner passed away.

      1. Steve, thanks for the reference.

        That page does make it sound like the state of New York uses a federal definition of estate to determine state estate taxes. As someone who’s been filing married for California taxes and single for federal taxes for 5 years now, I find this very surprising. I have never heard this discussed in relation to the Windsor case before and haven’t seen this reported in other places. I hope to see a clearer and more informed discussion of the issue in the more reliable press outlets.

        I stand by my statement that PN muddled this story. They should have made clear distinctions between state and federal estate rules, the peculiarities of New York’s estate tax rules and how these factors were affected by DOMA. PN has consistently muddled state vs. federal issues throughout the DOMA and Prop 8 cases. This isn’t an isolated incident. If they didn’t do the original research on this story, then they should have cited the AP story where they got their info.

        1. I see what you’re saying, and it’s not clear, as opposed to deliberately muddled – I mean, who the hell understands tax law !

          In a HuffPo article it says “Same-sex spouses forced to pay high New York estate taxes upon the death of their partner will get refunds from the state.”, which implies that in NY there are death duties and estate taxes which might include a State and Federal component. The Windsor case is about Federal taxes, obviously.

          It says “Same-sex spouses may have been required to pay thousands of dollars more in New York estate taxes when their partner died.”. Before the DOMA ruling they could not claim back retrospectively, SCOTUS ruling allows that.

          But the fly in the ointment is the line “A refund must be claimed within three years of the tax return or two years after the tax was overpaid.” which sounds like ‘retrospective’ is in fact limited. :(

          1. confirmed in multiple sources, you can claim back 3 years from the time equal marriage was enacted, so you can claim from 2008 onwards.

  3. Colin (London) 24 Jul 2013, 7:53am

    My niece worked on this case….I am so proud of her… the world is good.

  4. Robert in S. Kensington 24 Jul 2013, 11:52am

    From my limited knowledge, Edith Windsor married in Canada before New York State introduced equal marriage although it recognised same-sex marriages. Therefore, would she not have been exempt from paying any state taxes at the time her wife died? Tax laws are very confusing, no matter the country.

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