State Rep. Julie Calley this week helped the Michigan House approve a plan to assist parents of a stillborn baby through a state income tax exemption.
Calley, of Portland, co-sponsors the measure that received unanimous bipartisan support.
There are roughly 550 to 650 stillbirths in Michigan each year, according to recent statistics. Families dealing with stillbirths often face thousands of dollars in expenses, first preparing for a baby and finally with funeral expenses.
“Family is the foundation of our society, and this plan helps families during a very painful time,” said Calley, of Portland. “We can’t legislate away a family’s grief after losing a baby. But we can help in significant ways by recognizing a life, and helping ease a family’s expenses as we already do with tax exemptions for other dependents.”
Michigan provided a stillborn child tax credit from 2006 until broad tax changes eliminated multiple credits in 2011. Rather than a credit, the plan Calley co-sponsors would provide assistance through a one-time exemption for a dependent.
Current Michigan law allows families to claim a one-time dependency exemption for a baby who dies shortly after birth. Calley said parents of a stillborn deserve the same acknowledgement.
A taxpayer would need a certificate of stillbirth from the Department of Health and Human Services to qualify.
House Bill 4522 advances to the Senate for further consideration.