Absent Roe vs. Wade, would “eligible child” mean more in the tax code?

Absent Roe vs. Wade, would “eligible child” mean more in the tax code?


The Supreme Court is not the only battleground in the country over abortion. Some state and federal lawmakers want to fight that war on another front: the Internal Revenue Code and the state tax system. But is the tax law an appropriate place to decide whether a fetus is a child?

People on both sides are waiting for the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue of abortion Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, decision that can be weakened or reversed Roe vs. Wade was the subject of a leaked draft opinion It is likely to be handed over in May and within the next month.

Nearly half of states are ready to ban abortion completely or effectively if the High Court overturns Cry. But some politicians are not waiting for the Supreme Court.

Those lawmakers are trying to broaden the tax code’s definition of “qualified child” to include a fetus. If courts uphold such definitions, it could be easier for judges to impose a nationwide ban on abortion, which is a target of many politicians on the political right.

There will be nothing new about the federal law defining “child” in many ways. For example, when it comes to protecting children’s online privacy, a “child” is a person under the age of 13. Laws prohibiting child abuse are based on the age of 18. States use different ages to allow the purchase of alcoholic beverages or a firearm, or to obtain a driver’s license.

Similarly, the tax code defines a “qualified child” slightly differently for tax expense such as: earned income tax creditThe child tax credit (CTC), or child and dependent care credit,

No one defines “baby” as an unborn fetus.

But here in Michigan, the House approved a $200 tax credit for the unborn last month, will provide bill credit an eligible child who is a fetus and “who have completed at least 12 weeks of pregnancy by the last day of the tax year and who are at least 12 weeks of gestation under the supervision and supervision of a physician.” Separately, the Bill refers to an embryo as “an individual organism of a Homo sapiens species at any time prior to full delivery from a pregnant woman”, which shall include a fertilized egg, or embryo.

A similar bill, called the “Child Tax Credit Act for Pregnant Mothers”, was introduced in the US. managing committee by Republican Mike Lee of Utah and Steve Dines of Montana. A Companion Bill was introduced in House by more than two dozen GOP lawmakers. Both the bills would allow pregnant women to claim a nonrefundable share of the child tax credit for their unborn children.

Lee says the idea is to “help protect lives, support parents, and reduce the number of children born into poverty.” Lee and Danes opposed Democratic efforts to increase the CTC that expired earlier this year.

His bill defines a qualifying child as “an individual of the species Homo sapiens, from the beginning of that individual’s biological development, including fertilization, until the birth of a living being or before death.”

Under the proposed law, a woman can also claim CTC in the taxable year if she performs an abortion or gives birth to a stillborn child. But the Bill would deny credit in the event of a pregnancy terminated with the exception of ectopic pregnancies or to prevent the death of the pregnant woman. Even with those exceptions, the credit will be denied if the attending health care provider “works with, as or with, the abortion center, or within the scope of volunteer service employment.”

Imagine, if you can, the IRS accounting for the circumstances under which a woman terminates a pregnancy and her ability to claim the credit.

If the bill’s sponsors’ concern is supporting pregnant women and families, they could support efforts to create a federal paid family leave program or support the resumption of an expanded and enhanced CTC by 2021. Or they can support their Republican ally, Utah Senator Mitto. Romney, who has proposed a monthly family allowance, They can go a step further and allow tax deduction for Surrogate pregnancies, which can cost more than $100,000,

But Michigan’s bill and the Federal Child Tax Credit for Pregnant Moms Act are classic messaging bills designed to let voters know that the bill opposes sponsor abortion. And they use the tax code to define life and paternity on the terms of lawmakers.

We are in the middle of a major national debate on these questions, now in the courts and perhaps in Congress for years to come.

But the tax code has no place for this.

tax hound, published once a month, helps people outside the tax world understand tax policy by connecting tax issues to everyday concerns. Have any questions or thoughts? Email Renu.


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