A New Jersey appeals court has affirmed the state’s right to a phase-in period before it accepts joint income tax returns from same sex couples under the New Jersey Civil Union Act.

In Quarto v. Adams the Appellate Division rejected a constitutional challenge by two women who claimed that their 2003 Canadian marriage entitled them to full parity with heterosexual married couples, including the right to file a joint income tax return as of October 25, 2006, the same day the New Jersey Supreme Court issued its decision in Lewis v. Harris granting same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples.                       

The appeals court ruled that New Jersey’s recognition of the relationship would, however, begin on February 19, 2007, the same day the  New Jersey Civil Union law went into effect. This was also the same day that the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office issued a formal opinion granting recognition to same sex marriages from Canada and some other nations.

The result is that same sex couples will be allowed to file joint New Jersey income taxes beginning in 2007.