(The Center Square) – The Georgia House approved a bill Monday that would increase foster care adoption tax credits in the state.
House Bill 114 increases the annual tax incentive for adopting a foster child from $2,000 to $6,000. Proponents of the bill, including Gov. Brian Kemp, hope the legislation encourages more Georgians to adopt foster children.
The bill cleared the House, 158-0, without debate.
Officials estimate the measure could result in a state revenue loss of $4.8 million over the next five years. According to a fiscal note from the Department of Audits and Accounts, if HB 114 becomes law, it could decrease state tax revenues by $400,000 in fiscal year 2022 and grow to up to $1.5 million by fiscal year 2026.
The average foster care adoption tax credit issued is $1,945, below the current threshold, said Rep. Bert Reeves, R-Marietta, one of the bill's sponsors.
HB 114 increases the tax credit to $6,000 for only the first five years after a child's adoption. Parents would continue to receive a $2,000 tax credit until the child turns 18 years old. The credit cannot be more than what the taxpayer owes during the tax year. The bill also eliminates the carry-forward of new credits under current law.
Georgia had about 12,096 children in foster care at the beginning of February, according to the Division of Family & Children Services. There are nearly 140 foster children up for adoption on Georgia's Adoption Photolisting website.
HB 114 now heads to the Senate. If it passes the Senate, it must be approved by Kemp to become law.