Embryos can count as dependents on 2022 state tax returns in Georgia


Anti-abortion activists demonstrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 13, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Georgia residents can now claim embryos as dependents on their tax returns.

According tips published by the Department of State Revenue.

The announcement follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending federal abortion rights, triggering bans in Georgia and elsewhere.

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While it’s unclear if other states will follow, jurisdictions tend to copy each other, said Richard Auxier, senior policy associate at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

“It’s an anti-abortion law,” he said, explaining that the tax break wouldn’t support most low-income families.

Generally, tax deductions are less valuable than tax credits because they’re harder to claim, and many filers take the standard deduction rather than itemizing, Auxier said.

“For most low-income families, there’s no benefit,” he said. “And for the rest of them, we’re talking tens of dollars.”

The complexities of deductions are a “taxpayer’s nightmare”

With limited details, the announcement also leaves many questions unanswered among tax practitioners.

“This is a situation where we may have to have some really, really uncomfortable conversations, especially if things haven’t gone well,” said Adam Markowitz, enrolled agent and vice president of Howard L Markowitz PA, CPA.

Financial experts asked which parent can claim the deduction, what happens in case of multiple births or if the pregnancy ends in miscarriage.

“It’s a tax man’s nightmare,” Markowitz added.

The policy also raises questions about how tax policy defines “dependents” since the tax code doesn’t reflect what many families actually look like, Auxier said.

With unmarried parents living in separate households, figuring out who gets the benefit can be complicated, he said.

How to provide “supporting documents”

The guidelines say that “relevant medical records” or other “supporting documentation” must be provided if requested by the Department of Revenue. But it is unclear exactly what may be needed.

“High-income families have the resources to go and ask their GP for supporting documents,” Auxier said. “But most families won’t have the time or money to schedule another appointment.”

The Georgia Department of Revenue said more information, including tax-filing instructions for claiming the tax relief for an “unborn child with a detectable heartbeat,” will come later this year.

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