May 27, 2022

Volume XII, Number 147

Advertisement
Advertisement

May 26, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 25, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 24, 2022

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Illinois Reverses Position on Income Tax Treatment of Benefits for Civil Union Partners

The Illinois Department of Revenue recently issued guidance reversing its position on the state income tax treatment of benefits for non-dependent civil union partners.

Federal law excludes amounts that an employer pays toward medical, dental or vision benefits for an employee and the employee’s spouse or dependents from the employee’s taxable income.  However, because civil union partners are not recognized under federal law, employers that provide these same benefits to employees’ civil union partners must impute the fair market value of the coverage as income to the employee that is subject to federal income tax, unless the civil union partner otherwise qualifies as the employee’s “dependent” pursuant to Section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Illinois Department of Revenue previously indicated that Illinois would follow the federal approach in taxing the fair market value of employer-provided coverage for non-dependent civil union partners because state law did not provide an exemption from such taxation.  However, recent guidance issued by the Department of Revenue reverses that position and indicates that employer-provided benefits for a non-dependent civil union partner are now exempt from Illinois state income taxation.  Illinois civil union partners are directed to calculate their state income taxes by completing a mock federal income tax return as if they were married for purposes of federal law.

In addition, for federal tax purposes, employees may not make pre-tax contributions to a Section 125 cafeteria plan on behalf of a non-dependent civil union partner (i.e., contributions for the partner generally must be after-tax) and may not receive reimbursement for expenses of the non-dependent civil union partner from flexible spending accounts (FSAs), health reimbursement accounts (HRAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs).  However, for Illinois state tax purposes, the employee now can be permitted to pay for the non-dependent civil union partner’s coverage on a pre-tax basis.

Employers providing medical, dental or vision benefits to civil union partners residing in Illinois should take action to structure their payroll systems to tax employees on the fair market value of coverage for employees' non-dependent civil union partners for federal income tax purposes, but not for state purposes.

© 2022 McDermott Will & EmeryNational Law Review, Volume II, Number 34
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Todd A. Solomon apension 401k attroney  McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Chcago
Partner

Todd A. Solomon is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.  Todd focuses his practice primarily on designing, amending, and administering pension plans, profit sharing plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans, 403(b) plans, and nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements.  He also counsels privately and publicly held corporations and tax-exempt entities regarding fiduciary issues under ERISA, employee benefits issues involved in corporate transactions, executive compensation matters, and the implementation of...

312-984-7513
Brian J. Tiemann, Labor Attorney, McDermott Law Firm
Partner

Brian J. Tiemann is a partner in the law firm of McDermott Will & Emery LLP and is based in the Firm’s Chicago office.   Brian focuses his practice on a variety of employee benefits matters related to pension plans, 401(k) plans, employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), cafeteria and welfare plans, executive compensation and the implementation of benefit programs for domestic partners of employees.  He is a member of the Firm’s ESOP Affinity Group and has worked with clients to structure and maintain the qualified status of their ESOPs with the Internal Revenue...

312-984-3268
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement