New Rules Of The Game: Same Sex Marriage And Taxes

BTL To Host Seminar On What New IRS Rules Mean For Michigan Couples

LIVONIA - The federal government now recognizes same-sex couples, regardless of where they may live. In states that do not have marriage equality - like Michigan - it means that the federal government recognizes marriages, but the state of Michigan does not. How will married couples file their taxes? Should they refile for prior years? How far back can they go? How do couples create estate plans that comply with federal and state law? What are the financial implications of getting married now? What happens when couples divorce?

Professor Gina Torielli, Director of the Graduate Tax Department at Cooley Law School, will address some of these questions at New Rules of the Game: Same Sex Marriage and Taxes, a seminar presented by Between The Lines Nov. 6 at the Detroit Marriott Livonia from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

"Financial professionals need to get up to speed very fast on all the new tax rules for married couples," said Jan Stevenson, BTL's co-publisher. "And it is really confusing because of the 2004 anti-gay marriage amendment to Michigan's constitution. We have one of the state's leading tax experts who will explain all the intricacies of the new IRS ruling. We hope accountants, financial planners, lawyers - any professional person who will be giving advice - come learn about the new financial environment for same-sex couples. And of course this is open to anyone interested in the topic."

Professor Torielli earned her B.S., with high honors from Michigan State University and J.D., cum laude from Harvard Law School. She teaches the Tax Practice and Procedure, Standards and Ethics of Tax Practice, and Tax Exempt Organizations courses in the Graduate Tax Program at Cooley. She teaches the Taxation and Wills Estates and Trusts courses in the J.D. program. She was the initial supervising professor for Cooley's Estate Planning Clinic at the Auburn Hills campus. She is an officer of the State Bar of Michigan's Taxation Section.

While at law school, Professor Torielli worked with the Harvard Negotiation Project, and as a research assistant to Professor Bernard Wolfman.

She began practice in the largest Michigan law firm, moving after six years to Howard & Howard, a firm of more than 90 attorneys. In 1998, Professor Torielli was elected as President and CEO of that firm, and served a five year term as the first woman managing partner of a major Michigan law firm. In that capacity Professor Torielli led a large legal team in the development of a distinguished practice. She and her firm members have counseled businesses, banks and public sector clients, including several Fortune 500 firms. Her experience as managing partner gave her real world experience with ethical and practice management issues in a law firm setting.

Torielli's own practice centered in taxation and public finance, and in that capacity she advised many nonprofit organizations and governmental entities on issues relating to tax exemption, tax-exempt financing and state and federal tax issues. Professor Torielli's scholarship is an effort to provide guidance to practitioners on the intricacies of federal tax exemption for municipal bonds.

The Detroit chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners named Professor Torielli one of the "top 10 business women of the year" in the spring of 2003. Corp! magazine named her one of the "95 most powerful women in Michigan" in March 2002, and Michigan Lawyers Weekly called her one of ten Michigan "Lawyers of the Year" in 1998. The Governor appointed Professor Torielli to the board of Michigan Higher Education Assistance Authority in 2004. Professor Torielli also serves on the boards of several charitable organizations.

To register for New Rules of the Game: Same Sex Marriage and Taxes go to or call 734-293-7200 x15. The continental breakfast will start at 8 a.m. and the program will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 10 a.m. Registration is $25 in advance and $30 at the door. The Detroit Marriott Livonia is on 6 Mile Rd. just east of I275, attached to the Laurel Park Mall.

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