by Madison Hirneisen
Virginia could move to create a tax credit for the loss of a stillborn child under a measure advanced by lawmakers in a House of Delegates committee Monday.
House Bill 1915 by Del. Angelia Williams Graves, D-Norfolk, would establish a refundable income tax credit for individual filers or married couples filing jointly of $2,000 for the loss of a stillborn child. The tax credit would be available from 2023 to 2027, and the bill specifies the credit could only be claimed in the taxable year in which the stillbirth occurred.
The bill defines “stillborn child” as a child who “suffered a spontaneous death” and completed at least 20 weeks of gestation. The definition also includes a child for whom a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth has been requested and whose death was not as a result of an induced termination of pregnancy.
“Losing a pregnancy is devastating,” Williams Graves told lawmakers in a House Finance subcommittee Monday. “The tax credit would provide families with a small buffer during this difficult time that they can use on what they need most – whether it is to pay for the disposition of the remains in a way that they feel most comfortable, to make up for missed wages or undergo any additional medical care.”
Just six states – Minnesota, Louisiana, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut and Michigan – currently offer a stillborn tax credit, according to the Star Legacy Foundation. The tax credits range from $500 in Arkansas to $2,300 in Arizona.
A fiscal analysis of the bill says it is “unknown to what extent taxpayers would qualify for and claim this credit.” According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were approximately 466 fetal deaths in Virginia in 2020. Based on that number, a fiscal analysis estimates the bill could cost as much as $932,000 annually and $114,037 in fiscal year 2024 for administrative costs to the Department of Taxation.
Garlena Varchena, policy director for Birth in Color RVA, shared testimony with the committee from a community doula who witnessed the “tragedy” associated with stillbirth.
“The stillbirth tax credit would make such an impact to mothers during this difficult time to help bridge the gap for lost wages, to help with needing extra time to grieve or to plan a proper burial so they can have some closure and move on,” Varchena said.
HB 1915 did not receive any opposition during Monday’s hearing. The bill passed with bipartisan support from lawmakers in an unanimous 7-0 vote in a House Finance Subcommittee and will be heard next in Appropriations.
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Madison Hirneisen is a staff reporter covering Virginia and Maryland for The Center Square. Madison previously covered California for The Center Square out of Los Angeles, but recently relocated to the DC area. Her reporting has appeared in several community newspapers and The Washington Times.
Photo “Angelia Williams Graves” by Delegate Angelia Williams Graves-90th District. Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Martin Kraft. CC BY-SA 3.0.
One Thought to “Panel of Virginia Lawmakers Advance Stillborn Tax Credit Proposal”
It is a tragedy, yes. But where, or what is the taxpayers responsibility in this? Just another giveaway of funds that belong to others.