Georgia parents can claim unborn child with detectable heartbeat on state taxes

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 7:05 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (CBS46) - Uncertainty is building around parts of Georgia’s new abortion law, just 48 hours after it took effect. Abortion is now illegal after about six weeks, once the fetal cardiac activity is detected.

Under the new law, a fetus is now a person in Georgia with the same rights as a living breathing child, which is where the legal confusion is developing.

Democratic state senator Elena Parent says there are still too many questions on how to implement Georgia’s “Heartbeat Law,” like whether or not a pregnant woman can now get public assistance payments even before she gives birth.

“What will the situation be with welfare or other sorts of government programs that look at your income and the number of people in your household? I assume now then the fetus will count as an additional person in the calculations,” said Parent.

As for whether the law means a pregnant woman driving alone can use the HOV lane, for now, the state public safety site says not so fast - it requires the rider to be a “not pre-infant person.”

This is what the law says about taxes, “[...] relating to income taxes, so as to provide that an unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat is a dependent minor for income tax purposes.”

This means expectant parents can now claim hundreds of dollars, depending on income, on their 2022 state taxes.

“Even though they wouldn’t be able to do so for the purposes of the federal tax code. Typically, of course, people fill out the same forms, so Georgia might have to - if it means what it says in the law - it’s going to have to figure out how to administer that,” said Fred Smith, Emory University law professor.

Smith says it’s not clear what you’d have to provide as proof - if anything - to get the child tax credit

“It isn’t really clear how one would administer it - and so, will they require documentation?” said Smith. “The questions, there are so many of them that we can really almost spend the day thinking about hypotheticals.”

CBS46 reached out to the Georgia Department of Revenue to ask the same questions about how taxes will be filed and what the changes will entail.

The Georgia Department of Revenue said they will release more information later, and did not specify when.