DOMA Tax Refund Information

Who Does This Affect
Employees and retirees who are legally married with a same gender spouse.

Faculty, staff and and retirees who are legally married with a same gender spouse are now able to reclaim income taxes for open taxable years—usually up to three years. Note: the ruling and benefits changes do not apply to same gender domestic partners.

The IRS has issued guidance regarding the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and individuals’ ability to recoup taxes paid in previous years. With guidance in place, UC has now set a process for helping employees and retirees recoup back taxes.

Refund Eligibility
If you were married as of December 31 of any calendar year, you are treated as married for the full calendar year. For example, if you legally married on March 1, 2013 (and are still married on December 31, 2013), you will be treated as married for the entire year. This means that, if your new spouse (former domestic partner) was covered under your UC-sponsored health plan for all of 2013, UC’s portion of the premium for your spouse’s coverage will not be treated as “imputed income,” and any taxes related to this coverage that were withheld from your paycheck can be refunded.

If you have not already done so, it is important to report your marriage to the Human Resources Benefits Office as soon as possible so that UC can refund FICA (Social Security and Medicare) 2013 taxes previously withheld.  To do so, fill out UPAY 850 form (PDF) that includes your personal information, marriage date, your spouse's information, and/or any action you are taking. Please be sure to sign and date the form and submit it to Berkeley Regional Services (BRS) via ServiceNow.

End of year payroll records will be also adjusted so the federal and state taxable gross income on the 2013 W2 will not include any imputed income for your spouse’s health plan coverage. The 2013 W2 will allow you to obtain refunds for federal and state taxes (as applicable) paid earlier in the year.

Retirees should report a marriage to the UC Retirement Administration Service Center by completing the UBEN 100 form (PDF).

If you are legally married with a same gender spouse and would like to obtain a refund of FICA taxes withheld in a prior year open under statute (usually up to three years) and, there was a marriage in place, you will need to complete the attached consent form by November 27th. Instructions on how to return the form to the Payroll office are located at the bottom of the form. We apologize for the short timeframe to return the form. For adjustments to tax year 2010 the Payroll department must receive the attached consent form by the above date to ensure they are able to make the adjustment within the IRS statute of limitations.

Your submission of the FICA Tax Refund form provides your consent for UC to request the FICA tax refund for usually up to 3 years prior to 2013 on your behalf (based on the year you were legally married).  UC will submit the request for affected employees and retirees and will send your FICA refund to you once UC receives it from the US government (we do not know what the federal government’s timeframe will be for the FICA tax refunds).

With receipt of the DOMA FICA Tax Refund form, UC Berkeley will also begin the process to provide you with the applicable prior year W2-c(s) so you may work with your accountant to file amended tax return(s) to request refunds of federal and state taxes (if applicable).  

  • Although the Payroll department is in the midst of producing year end W-2s for the campus, a special effort is being made to provide your W2-c for 2010 (if applicable, based on your marriage date) by the end of December 2013 so you may work with your accountant to amend your 2010 tax return by April 15, 2014
  • The W2-c for 2011 and 2012 will be provided to you by March 2014, since the deadline for filing amended tax returns for these years extends into 2015 and 2016

If you have any questions, employees should contact Retirees should contact the UC Retirement Administration Service Center (800-888-8267).

Additional information about the effects of DOMA on compensation and benefits, including a chart with information on the effect of the DOMA ruling on all UC benefits for employees and retirees with a same-gender spouse.

Learn More