Thanks to last-minute action by the IRS, employee benefits administrators this year will have one more important change to communicate to employees as soon as possible: legally married same-sex couples can claim tax benefits this year if they're enrolled in a flexible spending account, health care savings account or cafeteria plan.

The IRS – responding to the Supreme Court's ruling in June invalidating part of the Defense of Marriage Act – said plans also are able to allow a midyear election change for participants marrying a same-sex spouse after the so-called Windsor decision.

Although it'll mean more work, IRS Notice 2014-1 shouldn't be a big surprise to HR managers. In August, the government said same-sex couples will be viewed as married for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether their marriages were recognized by the state in which they lived.

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