Georgia says ‘unborn child’ counts as dependent on taxes after 6 weeks

cigaretteman

HR King
May 29, 2001
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Under Georgia law, fetuses now have “full legal recognition” as living people. That means their parents can claim them as dependents on their tax returns — even before delivery.
The state’s department of revenue said Monday that it would begin recognizing “any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat … as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption” — amounting to $3,000. Taxpayers must be prepared to provide relevant medical records and documents if requested by the department.


The tax benefit is a byproduct of a law that went into effect July 20 banning abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy. Georgia House Bill 481 was initially approved in 2019 but was deemed unconstitutional, given the protections granted by Roe v. Wade. Once that long-standing precedent was overturned in June, a federal appeals court cleared the way for Georgia’s abortion ban to become law. The court also agreed that “personhood” could be redefined to include fetuses.


The concept of enshrining personhood into antiabortion policy isn’t new. Among the states that consider embryos as distinct people are Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Kansas and Missouri, the Associated Press reported. Others states — including Colorado, Mississippi and North Dakota — have tried to follow suit, but the proposed pieces of legislation have so far failed, according to the AP.
EXPLAINER: What's the role of personhood in abortion debate?
Georgia’s personhood provision is, for now, the most expansive. Not only does it grant tax breaks for fetuses, but it also requires that they be included in some population counts. It also imposes child support “on the father of an unborn child” — amounting to the “direct medical and pregnancy related expenses of the mother.”
But considering the prevalence of miscarriages and stillbirths, some wondered what the implications of the new tax policy could mean for those who experience pregnancy loss. Georgia State University law professor Anthony Michael Kreis speculated on Twitter that the state’s treasury could end up “handing out a lot of cash for pregnancies that would never come to term.”



Lauren Groh-Wargo, campaign manager for Georgia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, questioned whether pregnancy loss could trigger an investigation. “So what happens when you claim your fetus as a dependent and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion?” she tweeted.
Neither the bill nor the guidance issued by the Georgia Department of Revenue addresses what would happen in the event of a miscarriage.
The law also creates other gray areas. For instance, what are the implications for couples using a surrogate? And when it comes to sperm donors or instances of uncertain paternity, who would be responsible for providing child support?

The Washington Post has contacted the Georgia Department of Revenue seeking clarification. The department’s guidance delineates that additional information — “including return instructions to claim the personal exemption for an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat” — will be issued later this year.

Court allows Georgia’s ‘heartbeat’ abortion ban
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Stacey Abrams, a Democrat running for governor, said July 20 that she was “enraged” by the law that bans abortion after detecting a fetal heartbeat. (Video: The Washington Post)
Georgia’s ban prohibits most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy, typically around the time when doctors can begin to detect cardiac activity. Exceptions include pregnancies caused by rape and incest, if a police report is filed, and pregnancies that would result in a woman’s death or serious harm, though not harm based “on a diagnosis or claim of a mental or emotional condition.” Additionally, the law doesn’t ban terminations for nonviable pregnancies, ectopic pregnancies or spontaneous abortions, commonly known as miscarriages.


Georgia’s law underscores stark differences among states and a dizzying lack of consensus when it comes to personhood.
Abortion is now banned in these states. See where laws have changed.
In Missouri, abortion is banned — except in cases of life endangerment — based on the “right to life of the unborn child.” At the same time, a divorce there can’t be finalized if one spouse is pregnant. The reason: The state’s divorce law doesn’t consider fetuses to be people, so there can’t be a “court order that dictates visitation and child support for a child that doesn’t exist,” the Riverfront Times reported.

Last month, a case in Texas made headlines after a pregnant woman was pulled over for driving alone in a high-occupancy lane. When the officers asked where the other passenger was, Brandy Bottone replied that her baby counted as a passenger, given the overturning of Roe and the state’s abortion policy.
She still got a ticket.
“The laws don’t speak the same language, and it’s all been kind of confusing, honestly,” she told The Post.

 

Keehawk

HR Heisman
May 24, 2011
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Seems kind of dumb but at least they are following through with what they believe. Despite the very loud voices yelling "what about this?! What about that!?" Well here's an answer.

Now a not so csb. I wish this would be the law or some form of it without abortion involved at all. My wife no pics had complications with our second son. Many trips back and forth to Omaha. Tons of missed work. Huge expenses. Then, my son dies at birth and we get no tax break for the year at all. We had all the same expenses we would have had if he had lived but no break in taxes to offset. I feel like there should be some financial protections for people who have a pregnancy that doesn't end in a live birth despite all the same expenses.
 

SeaPA

HR Heisman
Dec 17, 2002
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Seems kind of dumb but at least they are following through with what they believe. Despite the very loud voices yelling "what about this?! What about that!?" Well here's an answer.

Now a not so csb. I wish this would be the law or some form of it without abortion involved at all. My wife no pics had complications with our second son. Many trips back and forth to Omaha. Tons of missed work. Huge expenses. Then, my son dies at birth and we get no tax break for the year at all. We had all the same expenses we would have had if he had lived but no break in taxes to offset. I feel like there should be some financial protections for people who have a pregnancy that doesn't end in a live birth despite all the same expenses.

Was the child stillborn, or born alive and passed away shortly thereafter? If born alive - even if he only lived for a minute or two, you should be able to claim him as a dependent for the year in which he was born/died.
 

Keehawk

HR Heisman
May 24, 2011
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Was the child stillborn, or born alive and passed away shortly thereafter? If born alive - even if he only lived for a minute or two, you should be able to claim him as a dependent for the year in which he was born/died.
Stillborn technically. Although he was born and they worked on him for 30 minutes before declaring him deceased.
 

bunsen82

HR MVP
May 6, 2004
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How do you proove a life of fetus on a tax return? No social security, no name, no date of fetus status at six weeks. Needless to say that tax return will have lots of critical errors. This has not been well thought through.
 
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NoleATL

HR Legend
Gold Member
Jul 11, 2007
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Soooo....if you claim the fetus....have a miscarriage....do you have to pay back taxes?

I'll considered law...
Well, what if a baby is born and then dies a couple months later... under current law, my guess is they are still considered a dependent for the year... anyone know?
 

UNIHawkfan

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Dec 2, 2005
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A little bit further down the slope and they will go after women for having miscarriages. Fetuses = people.
This is absolutely where it’s headed. My wife had three miscarriages (all after seeing a heartbeat). I can’t imagine having them investigated, or having to get a death certificate…but that’s what is going to start happening. If it’s a person, you have to treat it as a person which would also mean a cause of death and investigating any suspicious circumstances. In each situation the doctors (who were incredibly great) said it just “wasn’t viable” ….but we’re going to start declaring them a person at 6 weeks. *facepalm*
 
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jamesvanderwulf

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Nov 27, 2015
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People's Republic of Johnson County
So if I have 10 fertilized embryos in the UIHC in vitro clinic, I may be entitled to a rather substantial tax refund...

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