Arkansas Bill Would Let Parents Claim Unborn Child as a Dependent on Their Taxes

State   |   Jerry Cox   |   Feb 14, 2023   |   2:09PM   |   Little Rock, Arkansas

Three different bills have been filed addressing income tax credits and unborn children in Arkansas.

H.B. 1398 by Rep. Les Eaves (R – Searcy) raises the state income tax credit for stillborn children. Current law provides Arkansans with a $500 income tax credit for a stillborn child. H.B. 1398 increases that income tax credit from $500 to $1,500.

S.B. 261 by Sen. John Payton (R – Wilburn) and Rep. Delia Haak (R – Siloam Springs) is a very simple bill that lets a person claim an unborn child as a dependent for income tax credit purposes. Changing how Arkansas’ tax code treats unborn children may not seem like much, but this type of legislation reinforces the fact that unborn children are living, human individuals under state law.

H.B. 1299 by Rep. Cameron Cooper (R – Romance) and Sen. Jim Dotson (R – Bentonville) creates a non-refundable income tax credit for contributions to pregnancy resource centers. Pregnancy resource centers are good organizations that give women real options besides abortion.

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Family Council strongly supports giving people a tax credit for donations to pregnancy resource centers. However, there are a couple of problems with the way H.B. 1299 is written.

H.B. 1299’s definition of “pregnancy resource center” excludes abortion providers, but the bill does not exclude organizations that affiliate with abortion providers.

That means that an affiliate of an abortion provider could try to qualify as a “pregnancy resource center” under this bill.

The way H.B. 1299 is written, a person could not claim a tax credit for donating to an abortion provider, but a person might be able to claim a tax credit for donating to an affiliate of an abortion provider if the affiliate could somehow prove that it offers pregnancy testing and other support for pregnant women.

A simple clarification in H.B. 1299’s language would make sure that affiliates of abortion providers are not eligible to participate in the measure’s tax credit program.

The bill also relies heavily on the Department of Human Services and the Department of Finance and Administration to facilitate the tax credit program.

H.B. 1299 could be simplified to create less bureaucracy and make sure the tax credit program works effectively.

Family Council has asked H.B. 1299’s sponsor to amend the bill to ensure that abortion affiliates won’t try to take advantage of the tax credit program and to create less government bureaucracy.

If these changes were made, Family Council would support H.B. 1299.

You can read H.B. 1398 raising the income tax credit for a stillborn child here.

You can read S.B. 261 letting a person claim an unborn child as a dependent for tax purposes here.

You can read H.B. 1299 creating a tax credit for contributions to pregnancy resource center here.

LifeNews Note: Jerry Cox is the president of the Arkansas Family Council.