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UC taking steps to make changes after DOMA, Prop 8 rulings

Like employers across the country, UC has been reviewing the legal, policy and operational implications of the Supreme Court rulings on California’s Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) for the university and its employees and retirees.

As a result of the rulings, employees in same-gender marriages are no longer subject to taxes on the “imputed income” for UC’s contribution to the cost of health insurance coverage provided for a same-gender spouse enrolled in UC-sponsored benefits.

In addition, the employee’s portion of the cost of health insurance coverage for his or her spouse may be deducted on a pretax basis rather than on an after-tax basis.

The rulings do not affect same-gender domestic partners.

“We know employees and retirees are eager to see these changes go into effect, and we are working as quickly as possible to make them,” said Dwaine Duckett, vice president of human resources. “Unfortunately, implementation is more complicated than it may seem, and it will take more time than we would like.”

The immediate priorities for UC are:

  • Making programming changes to payroll and HR systems necessary to implement the tax changes
  • Encouraging faculty and staff who were married prior to the rulings to self-identify as soon as possible to ensure they benefit from the changes
  • Getting guidance from federal agencies on the effective date of the change
  • Assisting employees when that guidance becomes clear

In addition, Duckett said, retroactivity is of critical importance to those affected, and federal guidance has not yet been issued. “It is understandable that people want equitable tax treatment to the fullest extent. We will be prepared to support them and help navigate retroactivity issues when the guidelines become available.”

Work has begun on the programming and administrative details to implement the changes, and UC expects them to be ready by mid-September.

For the full story, go to At Your Service.

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