by Vidor A. Nosce, Esq.
The Georgia Department of Revenue has issued a statement that in view of recent U.S. Supreme Court and Georgia Court of Appeals decisions, an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat will be eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption, effective July 20, 2022. (Guidance to HB481 LIFE Act, Ga. Dept. Rev., 08/01/2022.)
Background. Based on the June 24, 2022, U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization and the July 20, 2022, 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Sistersong v. Kemp, the Department will recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat, as defined in Ga. Code. Ann. § 1-2-1, as eligible for the Georgia individual income tax dependent exemption. The 11th Circuit’s ruling made HB 481’s amendment to Ga. Code Ann. § 48-7-26(a), adding an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat to the definition of dependent, effective as of the date of the court’s ruling, which was July 20, 2022. Note: HB 481 was signed by the Governor on May 7, 2019; it was initially ruled unconstitutional in July 2020, but the ruling was reversed in July 2022.
Exemption allowed for tax year 2022. On individual income tax returns filed for Tax Year 2022 where, at any time on or after July 20, 2022, and through December 31, 2022, a taxpayer has an unborn child (or children) with a detectable human heartbeat (which may occur as early as six weeks’ gestation), the taxpayer may claim a dependent personal exemption as provided for under Ga. Code Ann. § 48-7-26(a) and Ga. Code Ann. § 48-7-26(b)(3) in the amount of $3,000 for each unborn child.
Where to deduct, supporting documentation. For Tax Year 2022, the deduction for dependent unborn children will be a subtraction on Line 12, “Other Adjustments,” of Form 500 Schedule 1. Similar to any other deduction claimed on an income tax return, relevant medical records or other supporting documentation must be provided to support the dependent deduction claimed if requested by the Department.
Additional guidance. Additional information, including return instructions to claim the personal exemption for an unborn child with a detectable heartbeat, will be issued later this year along with other tax changes impacting Tax Year 2022 Georgia individual income tax returns.
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