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In a September 6, 2013 Baltimore Sun article, Venable partner Harry Atlas commented on the recent IRS announcement that it will recognize same-sex married couples for federal tax purposes beginning September 16. Atlas said that “this is a major change.”

Addressing how the decision will affect couples’ medical benefits, Atlas said the IRS ruling “makes it clear that if you have a validly married same-sex couple, their health insurance benefits are not taxed.”

The decision also impacts retirement plan protections, and now protects the financial interests of same-sex spouses in this regard. As an example, Atlas pointed out that an employee must make a spouse a beneficiary of a 401(k), unless the spouse waives that right.