Chris Christie Backs Away From New Jersey Same-Sex Marriage Battle

ssChris Christie’s long fight against same-sex marriage in New Jersey has officially drawn to a close. The Republican governor had considered using the appeals process in the aftermath of a judge’s ruling deeming recent gay marriage legislation as abiding by the state’s constitution. However, Christie’s advisors ultimately suggested that the governor drop the fight, as it was becoming abundantly clear that he and his cohorts were on the wrong side of history.

Christie’s decision arrived in the aftermath of a unanimous decision from the New Jersey Supreme Court, announcing that the governor’s request same-sex marriages during the appeals process would be denied. This was the turning point in a battle that, based on the opinion of Christie’s advisors, was quickly becoming un-winnable. As recently as a week prior to the debut of same-sex marriage in New Jersey, Christie had been advocating for a voter referendum on the issue. However, even if taken to a vote, same-sex marriage was predicted to be an inevitability in the state, as it has proven highly popular with New Jersey voters as of late.

With Chris Christie out of the local gay marriage debate, same-sex couples are swarming alters across the Garden State. Beginning at midnight on Monday, these pairs joined hands in ceremonies that had quickly been arranged as soon as news of Christie’s decision hit the media on Friday. Proponents of gay marriage remain hopeful that this will be one in a long line of same-sex marriage victories, looking to Hawaii and Illinois as what could be two of the next legislative victories related to this contentious issue. After all, New Jersey is just one of several states to grant same-sex couples the right to marry in 2013, following Maryland, Delaware and Minnesota. The fight for gay marriage may be over in New Jersey, but it’s just getting started across the greater United States.

Christie’s decision to withdraw the NJ Supreme Court appeal is significant in light of the IRS’s issued guidance on same-sex marriages.  In Revenue Ruling 2013-17, the IRS announced that it would recognize same-sex marriages nationwide regardless of where the couple resides.  However, the IRS ruling did not apply to civil unions and other formal relationships recognized under state law.  Accordingly, now New Jersey same-sex couples would be afforded the same federal rights associated with marriage.

Will amending the tax return from single to married filing jointly reduce a back tax?  NJ’s new law creates a potential opportunity for NJ same-sex couples who are dealing with a back tax liability.  Keep in mind, the benefits of filing a joint return may not always be greater than filing separately.  Furthermore, an analysis must be conducted as to what assets the non-liable spouse owns.  Generally speaking, in non-community jurisdictions, such as NJ, the IRS can attach against only the assets of the debtor spouse.  Therefore, you do not want to expose your assets to the IRS by creating a joint liability.  Additionally, other questions would arise such as what is the audit exposure by amending the tax return.

If you are facing IRS enforcement, such as tax liens, bank levies, garnishments, and seizures, and require help, then contact the Law Offices of Todd S. Unger, Esq. LLC today.  Todd Unger is a tax attorney that can assist with negotiating a payment plan, offer in compromise, placing the account in currently not collectible (CNC), a tax motivated bankruptcies, or assist in contesting a tax liability.  Contact tax attorney, Todd Unger today (877) 544-4743.