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

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The US state of New York has said that same-sex spouses who paid estate taxes under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), because their marriages were not recognised, will now receive refunds.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Tuesday that the refunds for the overpayment of estate taxes will come as a result of DOMA being struck down by the Supreme Court last month, reports the Associated Press.

Same-sex spouses eligible for the refunds could have been required to pay thousands of dollars in New York estates taxes when their partner died, because they were not given the same treatment as straight married couples in similar circumstances.

The full amounts of refunds due has not been announced.

On 26 June, the US Supreme Court announced that it had found DOMA unconstitutional. It had previously defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and the Supreme Court decision paved the way for over 1,100 benefits, previously not afforded to same-sex couples.

Edith Windsor, who brought the case to the Supreme Court challenging DOMA, was married to her partner, sued the government in order to get the federal estate tax deduction previously only available to straight people when their spouses die and is now eligible for a $363,000 (£236,000) tax refund.

A US District Judge this week ruled in favour of a gay married couple in the state of Ohio, who filed a lawsuit in order to have their out-of-state marriage recognised as one of them is terminally ill.