Sun, May 04, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Gay couple unable to file tax return

COMPUTER GLITCH:The system recognizes married couples as one man and one woman, therefore it does not accept two married women, a gay couple said

By Loa Iok-sin  /  Staff reporter

A same-sex couple yesterday protested at the Ministry of Finance for not allowing them to file taxes together, despite the Ministry of the Interior recognizing their marriage.

While the Ministry of Finance has been urging the public to file their taxes as early as possible before May, a same-sex couple, Abbygail Wu (吳伊婷) and Jiyi Ng (吳芷儀), are having problems doing so.

They said that the National Taxation Bureau’s online tax filing system does not accept two women filing returns as a married couple, despite the Ministry of the Interior’s recognition of their status.

“It’s not that we don’t want to pay taxes, we tried to file our taxes on Friday, the very beginning of the season, but the bureau’s online filing system is not allowing us to,” Wu said.

She said that when she filled in her ID number and her partner’s online, a message popped up saying that her spouse’s ID number was wrong.

“Why is that? Well, because both of our ID numbers start with ‘A2,’ which indicates that both of us are female, and the system is designed to only accept married couples as one man and one woman, despite the fact that the Ministry of the Interior recognizes our marriage,” Wu said.

“There have been other couples who have experienced similar problems. We’ve complained about it, but it’s still not resolved,” Wu said. “I am a computer engineer, so I know this is not difficult to fix.”

Wang Chieh-chen (王玠琛), deputy director of the bureau’s Taipei branch, said that as long as the Ministry of the Interior recognizes the marriage, the bureau will allow the couple to file taxes as a couple.

He said the problem was likely caused by the system’s design, which is to be changed by next year’s tax season.

Wang added that the couple can go in person to a bureau office to file their taxes before the change.

Born as men, Wu and Ng two years ago underwent gender reassignment surgery before getting married.

When they registered their marriage, their ID cards designated Wu as female and Ng as male.

Later, Ng officially switched her gender to female, which prompted the Ministry of the Interior to invalidate the registration.

After an appeal, the Ministry of the Interior agreed to reissue Ng’s registration last year.

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