BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Legally married gay couples will now be able to file joint federal tax returns. The government has approved a new policy that recognizes same-sex marriage even if some states do not.
Whitney Weddell, chair of the Bakersfield LGTBQ never thought she would see this moment.
"We certainly have come a long way and it's been quite a ride and there's been a lot of disappointments a long the way and it's kind of time that we started seeing a turning of the tide towards justice," she said.
The federal government is recognizing same-sex marriages. Under the new rules gay couples will be treated as married for all federal tax purposes including income and gift and estate taxes.
"The over turning of the defensive marriage act means that there will be lots of things like this coming down the pipe," she said.
Bakersfield CPA Christopher Aasness says the new tax rules will cut time on filing and save same-sex couples of lot of money on fees.
"We in California have been kind of dealing with this for several years with the registered domestic partnerships so, if you're in a state that hasn't before recognized that and now they recognize gay marriage I think it's going to benefit their citizens, these couples," he said.
The government also plans on offering couples a chance to file a refund claim for the 2010, 2011 and 2012 tax year.
"They are making this retro-active so these couples can go back and amend their return and potentially get tax refunds because they may be over paid when they originally filed their return because of their federal laws not recognizing that," he said.
The IRS and treasury regulations follow changes also made by other federal agencies including the Office of Personnel management and the Department of Defense and Health and Human Services.