Married gay couples encouraged to file for tax refunds, benefits before Supreme Court DOMA decision

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Accountants and tax lawyers are encouraging married same-sex couples to apply now for tax refunds, Social Security benefits and other financial perks of marriage they may have been denied under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The law prohibits the federal government from recognizing gay and lesbian unions.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments later this month to a provision of DOMA. If the court strikes it down, some married couples and gays whose spouses have died may be eligible for retroactive payments.

A decision is not expected until the end of June, but tax experts say some gay couples who were married as of 2009 should submit protective claims now because there is a three-year statute of limitations for seeking income and estate tax refunds.

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