New Jersey Gay Couple Sues to File Joint Tax Return

A gay couple who were united in a civil ceremony in Vermont three years ago are now suing their home state of New Jersey to allow them the option of filing a joint state tax return.

While Vermont law allows for same-sex couples to file joint tax returns, New Jersey does not.

"New Jersey is linked by law to the federal tax laws, which do not recognize this form of filing and we are bound by federal policy," said Tom Vincz, a spokesman for the state Department of Treasury.

George DeCarlo and Ryan Reyes are fighting for the right to make a determination - as heterosexual couples do - on the most financially advantageous form of filing a tax return. They complained to state officials as far back as two years ago about the lack of a proper check-box on state tax returns that accurately reflected the status of their relationship, and indicated they are simply looking for an equitable solution to their tax burden as any other married couple would.

A tax court judge in Trenton will handle the case, and has indicated that a fee must first be paid before the merits of the complaint can be assessed.

"We have every intention to file a joint tax return for this year," said DeCarlo, 45, who along with his partner is running for the state Legislature this fall as a Green Party member.

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