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For Same-Sex Couples, Income Tax Day Brings Extra Challenge

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John Ostapkovich John Ostapkovich
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By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Even as New Jersey’s legislature is voting on whether to legalize same-sex marriage in that state (see related story), tax season is looming with some uncertainties for those already in civil unions, in New Jersey or other states where it’s legal.

This year, as before, those couples may have to do a little extra work.

The reason is that federal law specifically prohibits same-sex marriage or unions, but otherwise the tax structure is similar to most states.

One legal web site offers advice to civil-union couples to fill out but not file their federal tax forms as though they are married, then use that as a template for completing the state return.

Richard Marmon, an accounting and finance professor at Rowan University, says that sounds like a good approach, because “as long as they have legally sanctioned and recognized union in New Jersey, they’re going to be treated as married couples. Their exemption amounts are going to be the same as if you had a spouse.”

And also, like married couples, incomes stack for tax purposes.

As for filing federally, they’ll have to redo the IRS forms, filing singly or perhaps as “head of household.”

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