The Supreme Court’s decision during the United States vs. Windsor case is one that will directly influence the real estate industry. The Supreme Court ruled in Windsor to no longer recognize section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This decision allows for homosexual spouses to take advantage of tax benefits that are granted to heterosexual married couples. While the Windsor decision only effects those same-sex spouses living in the nine states who recognize gay marriage, Delaware, Minnesota, and Rhode Island will also soon recognize gay marriage. Among the many financial benefits that are available to married couples are the tax breaks granted to homeowners. Same-sex spouses who own real estate will now be subject to file for joint home mortgage interest deduction on tax returns as well as the 250,00/500,00 home sale exclusion. Homosexual married couples can also utilize spousal exemptions, which includes willing an estate to a spouse tax free or gifting property to a spouse tax-free. These advantages that all heterosexual married couples are able to take advantage of are now available to homosexual married couples. Already, same-sex spouses living in the nine states that recognize gay marriage qualify for a 10.5 million estate tax exemption. With several other states leaning towards recognizing same-sex marriage, the number of homosexual spouses that qualify for tax exemptions will continue to rise.
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