CEDAR CITY — Cedar City Rep. Rex Shipp has sponsored a bill that would provide families who adopt with a five-year tax credit to help recover the cost of adoption.
The proposed Adoption Tax Credit, designated HB 201 in the 2020 Utah Legislature, would create an individual nonrefundable income tax credit for adoption expenses while removing the current income tax credit for the adoption of a child with special needs.
Shipp told Cedar City News that the removal is part of the bill because it creates a tax credit for any adoption, whether a child has special needs or not.
“My bill has a tax credit for families who file jointly up to $160,000 of taxable income,” he said. “Then they would get a tax credit. It’s a nonrefundable tax credit up to the full amount of whatever the adoption cost was, and it carries forward for five years.”
The credit would essentially exempt families from their state income tax responsibility for up to five years or the full cost of the adoption.
Shipp said three of his seven children are adopted.
“We went through LDS Family Services that was doing adoptions at that time, and they based the cost on a percentage of your income,” Shipp said. “So typically it was more cost-effective to adopt, but when they stopped doing those these private adoptions through private agencies, they’re very high cost.”
Shipp added his bill is an effort to benefit families in a lower income range.
“For younger people in that income category, it’s tough to afford it,” he said. “Now certainly, initially, they would still have to come up with the money. This is just a tax credit that carries forward, so it’s like you’re getting the money back. It enables you to get some of that money back in a tax credit that you wouldn’t get otherwise.”
St. George Rep. Walt Brooks told Cedar City News he likes the idea of a tax credit for adoption expenses but wants to understand more about it.
“I like that idea, but the thing is, who’s paying for it?” he said. “Where does this money come from? The question I’ll be asking is, is there a correlation to the cost to the federal government or the state government? I already think that adoption is way too expensive.”
The bill is still being held in rules, but Brooks said he hopes making adoption easier provides more options.
“I am pro-life 100%,” he said. “Looking at that, this bill may be a positive thing to say we’re going to help motivate people to adopt who normally couldn’t afford it that are great parents that can maybe provide a young lady who is looking at abortion find another way that she can provide a baby a better life.”
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