Tax relief for stillbirths gets unanimous vote in state House of Representatives

Tax relief for stillbirths gets unanimous vote in state House of Representatives

From the Detroit Free Press:

LANSING – The state House of Representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to restore tax relief for families who experience a stillbirth.

The bill was especially meaningful for state Rep. Julie Alexander, R-Hanover, whose daughter Amy Jo was stillborn on Christmas Day in 1995.

“She entered the world without a breath or a cry, but lives on in our hearts,” she said of her daughter. “To be able to provide the tax relief, to know that we’re helping families in that way, brings me a very content feeling.”

Michigan provided a stillborn child tax credit from 2006 until multiple tax credits were eliminated in 2011.

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Instead of the tax credit, the bill passed Wednesday would provide a one-time tax exemption for a family who can provide a certificate of stillbirth from the state Department of Health and Human Services. The individual tax exemption would be $4,050 this year and would rise to $4,900 in 2021.

In the last two years the tax credit was available, fewer than 300 people filed for the credit each year, according to an analysis of the bill, with the value of the credits totaling $51,000 in 2010 and $47,000 in 2011. In 2015, there were 546 stillbirths in Michigan, according to the Health and Human Services Department.

“This would allow parents of a stillborn baby to qualify for a one-time tax exemption,” said state Rep. Mary Whiteford, R-Casco Township, the sponsor of the bill. “There is nothing we can do to take away the loss, but we can acknowledge the baby and provide some financial relief.”

The bill — HB 4522 — moves to the Senate for consideration.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, or on Twitter @michpoligal.


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