Filing Taxes after Pregnancy & Infant Loss

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As if grief isn’t hard enough, the logistical and practical factors intrude into our safe space, demanding that our most vulnerable experience be gazed at through the lens of something other than what we see.

Simply put, if we have endured pregnancy and infant loss, we may, humbly, with trepidation and curiosity, wonder how our child not alive might be included in our family as we turn to filing our taxes.

 

The answer is not very affirming.  While there may be absolutely rational legal explanations to the way in which this is formulated, it is a formula nonetheless.

 

Directly from the IRS.GOV website is , with this bracket:

 

Child born alive.    You may be able to claim an exemption for a child born alive during the year, even if the child lived only for a moment. State or local law must treat the child as having been born alive. There must be proof of a live birth shown by an official document, such as a birth certificate. The child must be your qualifying child or qualifying relative, and all the other tests to claim an exemption for a dependent must be met.
.
Stillborn child.    You cannot claim an exemption for a stillborn child.

 

In regard to claiming Head of Household:

Death or birth. You may be eligible to file as head of household even if the qualifying person who qualifies you for this filing status is born or dies during the year. To qualify you for head of household filing status, the qualifying person (as defined in Table 4) must be one of the following.

  • Your qualifying child or qualifying relative who lived with you for more than half the part of the year he or she was alive.
  • Your parent for whom you paid, for the entire part of the year he or she was alive, more than half the cost of keeping up the home he or she lived in.

 

In this line, it may be helpful to visit your state listing regarding Certificate of Birth.

Stillbirthday dads and moms would like to make mention to you:

01} The birth certificate you obtain is likely to say “deceased” or similar directly on it. This is troubling to some parents but is important to prevent fraud and someone illegally using your child’s identity.


02} In place of the social security number (assuming your child did not live long enough to be assigned one), you type in “dead”.


03} You cannot file electronically. The return has to be printed and mailed in order to include the birth certificate, since there is no social security number.

04} It is possible that you could deduct some or all of the medical expenses related to the care, delivery, and even autopsy or testing of your stillborn baby. There are a lot of “if/then” questions regarding all medical deductions, and these are no different in regards to the law. If you can itemize. If you didn’t make “too much”. If. But please don’t assume that you can or cannot without speaking to a professional. Many will answer these questions at no charge.

 

One dad says, “I hate filing taxes every year because we will never be able to count Bentley as our child in maryland. But he still is and was born perfect but the state doesn’t recognize it. Very stressful every year. It is a punch in the gut every year.”

 

It is my hope only to share factual information in a compassionate way.  Please, be sure to visit the IRS.GOV site or your personal tax preparer for the most up-to-date information regarding filing taxes, as they may have revised and updated information for you.

 

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Thank you for your help in keeping this page updated:

Sarah Russell

Blake Nalley

Katie Short

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Comments

  1. Katie Short says:

    It is possible that you could deduct some or all of the medical expenses related to the care, delivery, and even autopsy or testing of your stillborn baby. There are a lot of “if/then” questions regarding all medical deductions, and these are no different in regards to the law. If you can itemize. If you didn’t make “too much”. If. But please don’t assume that you can or cannot without speaking to a professional. Many will answer these questions at no charge.

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