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Unborn babies would become a Michigan tax break, bill proposes

Similar legislation was introduced in 2012 allowing a fetus to be listed as a dependent after 12 weeks of gestation.
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Michigan state capitol

LANSING, Mich. — An unborn child could qualify as a deduction in Michigan, under legislation introduced in Lansing.

A senate bill introduced Tuesday, Aug. 20 would allow expectant parents to declare a fetus as a dependent. To qualify, the fetus must have completed at least 12 weeks of gestation as of the last day of the tax year.

Senate Bill 393 also requires that the fetus be under the care and observation of a physician to qualify as a dependent.

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The bill was introduced by Sen. Tom Barrett, R-Potterville, and has no co-sponsors. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Finance.

Claiming a fetus as a tax deduction is not unchartered territory for Michigan. In 2012, a pair of bills were introduced to amend the state’s tax code to include fetuses as dependents.

A House Fiscal Agency report prepared at the time estimated the bills would initially be expected to reduce individual income tax revenue by an estimated $5 million to $10 million a year.

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As it now stands, you cannot claim an unborn child as a dependent. The child must be born alive during the tax year to be claimed as a dependent for that tax year. 

A bill signed into law in Georgia earlier this year allows expectant parents to claim an embryo as a deduction on their state taxes as soon as a doctor detects a heartbeat. It is part of a so-called “heartbeat bill,’’ which bans most abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

Bills to provide a child tax credit for pregnant mothers have also been introduced this year in Congress.

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