Legislators Propose Stillborn Tax Credit

Arguably one of the most horrific events parents can experience is finding out their child will be a “stillborn.” According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a “stillborn” baby is born dead, at least 20 weeks in to the woman’s pregnancy. Roughly 1% of U.S. babies are stillborn, adding up to roughly 24,000 babies per year. Legislators of both parties are acting to ease the tax burden and recognize parents and families who experience a traumatic stillbirth.

HF 2969 calls for a one-time, $2,000 tax credit given to families per stillbirth. The bill was originally proposed by Representative Roz Peterson (R-Lakeville), but has bipartisan support and currently 15 total authors. On April 12th it received a hearing in the House of Representatives’ Tax Committee.

Currently there is no federal tax deduction or credit for parents of a stillborn child.  However, some states have taken action to lessen the tax burden of parents of stillborn fetuses.  Democratic Governor Jay Nixon of Missouri signed a bill providing a tax deduction to parents of stillbirths in July of 2015. Minnesota would be the 5th State to pass a bill providing tax relief for families of stillborn children.

In the committee hearing, Representative Peterson pointed out that stillbirths can come with “unexpected costs of up to $15,000.” Included in these costs are autopsies, funeral obligations, lack of productivity, etc. In order to obtain the one-time tax credit, the family must present a certificate of stillbirth. Peterson argues that this bill is about more than the tax credit, it’s about recognizing stillborn babies and their families.

Amanda and Chris Duffy testified as witnesses at the committee hearing to support the bill.  Amanda Duffy gave birth to a stillborn at 39 weeks gestation, only to find out that the umbilical cord was wrapped around their daughter Reese’s neck twice.  In the aftermath, Chris said with each check he had to write for doctors bills, psychology visits, funeral costs,  etc., it hurt more and more knowing they would never have the opportunity to take their daughter home.

The bill was “laid over” for possible inclusion in the Tax Committee omnibus bill.  To stay up to date on the latest legislative happenings at the Capitol, subscribe to Alpha News.