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Sound Off: Can an embryo be a tax dependent?

I understand that Gov. Sam Brownback signed into law House Bill 2253, which declares that life begins at fertilization. Is that true for tax purposes? Can you declare a fertilized egg as a dependent on your Kansas income tax return?

The short answer is no. Here is a response from Jeannine Koranda, a spokeswoman from the Kansas Department of Revenue: “In order for a Kansas income taxpayer to claim a dependent on the Kansas income tax return, the taxpayer must also claim that person as a dependent on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. Kansas looks to federal income tax law for the determination of who is or is not considered to be a dependent. In order to make the claim of an exemption for a dependent on the Kansas income tax return, that claim of an exemption for a dependent must be properly made on the taxpayer’s federal income tax return. ... “Under federal income tax law, an unborn child is not considered to be a dependent. Only upon live birth can the child be considered as a dependent. ... “In addition, a state statute requires that Social Security numbers for all dependents be entered on the taxpayer’s Kansas income tax return. It is our understanding that the Social Security Administration does not issue a Social Security number to a person until that person has been born.”

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