Georgia allows foetuses to be listed as dependant on tax returns to claim exemption

Foetuses in Georgia will be considered dependants under the state’s tax laws, according to new guidelines released on Monday.

The Georgia Department of Revenue said that the state “will recognise any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat … as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption”.

Individuals who are at least six weeks pregnant on or after 20 July till 31 December this year can avail this option.

Under Georgia’s laws, taxpayers can claim an exemption of $3,000 (£2,500) for each dependant.

“Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation shall be provided to support the dependant deduction claimed if requested by the department,” the guidelines added.

The new guidelines come after the US Supreme Court in June overturned the Roe v Wade judgement, which had allowed constitutional access to abortions across the country for decades.

On 20 July, a federal court ruled that Georgia’s ban on abortion after six weeks of pregnancy can become law.

Georgia’s legislation – which outlaws abortion care after detection of a foetal “heartbeat”, a misleading term used by anti-abortion activists to describe embryonic electrical activity at about six weeks – only makes exceptions for rape and incest if a police report has been filed.

According to Alex Raskolnikov, a professor of tax law at Columbia Law School, Georgia’s tax law will not have any effect on federal law.

“A state (example Goergia) cannot dictate federal law. GA (Georgia)’s decision will have no impact of the IRS or the Internal Revenue Code,” he told NPR.

Abortion rights activists have raised concerns about the new guidelines.

“So what happens when you claim your foetus as a dependant and then miscarry later in the pregnancy, you get investigated both for tax fraud and an illegal abortion,” asked Lauren Groh-Wargo, the campaign manager for Democrat Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.

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