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IRS extends federal tax benefits to married same sex couples

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The IRS announced a big break Thursday for same sex couples. The government will now recognize federal tax benefits for gay and lesbian marriages.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Utah) – The IRS announced a big break Thursday for same sex couples. The government will now recognize federal tax benefits for gay and lesbian marriages.

When it comes to federal tax dollars, gay or lesbian married couples now have the same rights as straight couples. Thursday the IRS announced it will recognize federal tax benefits for same sex marriages regardless of where they live.

"We're excited, we're so excited. Absolutely," said Penny Kirby and Terri Henry, same sex couple.

Penny Kirby and Terri Henry of Springville are a same sex couple engaged to be married October 5th. They're thrilled the government is giving them equal tax rights.

"For the longest time it almost felt like we were vilified almost for being ourselves now there's that recognition of our family’s financial needs," said Terri Henry, engaged to be married.

The tax change not only means Kirby and Henry can file their federal taxes together, they can claim exemptions, deductions, and employee benefits, among others. Enrolled tax agent Karen Summerhays tells Reporter Brian Carlson same sex couples stand to save a lot of money. It even works retroactively.

"All of those people can go back and amend three years worth of tax returns also, if they were legally married during that time, it's a huge tax benefit for them," said Karen Summerhays, Enrolled Agent, Licensed to Practice in US Tax Court.

While Kirby and Henry are pleased the IRS sees them as equals, they're hopeful the current movement for equality continues, and can't wait to tie the knot.

"It's so exciting, it's so exciting to celebrate with other couples who are now seeing that opportunity come to fruition," said Penny Kirby, engaged to be married.

It's important to note because Utah does not recognize same sex marriages, gay couples who live in-state will have to file their state taxes individually.

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Follow Brian Carlson on Twitter: @briancarlsontv
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