ATLANTA – The Georgia Treasury Department on Tuesday issued new guidance explaining how the state’s new abortion law will affect taxes.
The so-called “heartbeat law” bans most abortions in Georgia after about six weeks of pregnancy. It also redefines “person” to include an unborn child, with implications for a number of areas of Georgian law, including taxes.
“The Department recognizes any unborn child with a verifiable human heartbeat … as eligible for exemption from Georgia individual income tax,” the Department said in a press release.
Any taxpayer who is carrying an unborn child with a documented heartbeat can claim the child as a dependent for the current tax year. The allowance is $3,000 for each unborn child.
For tax year 2022, the law applies to any taxpayer who carries an unborn child with a verifiable heartbeat between July 20, 2022, when the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Georgia’s abortion law, and December 31, 2022.
The Treasury Department said taxpayers may be asked to provide medical or other supporting documentation to prove the presence of an unborn child.
The department said it will issue additional guidance on the new law later this year.
Anti-abortion activists in Georgia see the new definition of humanity as a crucial victory and innovation.
“Personality … is extremely important because we are the first in the country to enforce it and … uphold it,” said Martha Zoller, executive director of the Georgia Life Alliance.
But others claim that the new definition of the person could have unintended consequences. It could lead to higher insurance costs for pregnant women, said Carliss Chatman, an associate professor of law at Washington and Lee University.
“What’s stopping an insurance provider from declaring that there are now two separate people?” Chatman asked. The insurer can charge two deductibles (for mother and unborn child) from the sixth week of pregnancy, she said.
The new law could also have implications for immigration and birthright citizenship, Chatman said.
“If the child is eligible for Georgia state taxes at a fetal heartbeat, does Georgia recognize that fetus’ citizenship at six weeks?”
Although the abortion law was upheld by federal district court last month, it is now being challenged in state court on privacy and other grounds. The next hearing in the matter is scheduled for Monday in Fulton County Superior Court.
This story is available through a news partnership with the Capitol Beat News Service, a Georgia Press Educational Foundation project.