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Husband, Wife Argue Fetus Qualified as Tax Deduction

October 9, 1992

ORANGE PARK, Fla. (AP) _ Claiming the Bush administration considers a fetus a person, a husband and wife are arguing in court that they were entitled to deduct their unborn child on their federal tax return.

Andrea Cassman says her son Jonathan, almost 3 months old, qualified as a child for tax purposes before he was born.

″Jonathan Cassman became the child of the plaintiffs at the time of his conception, which was on or about October 1991,″ Larry Bishins, an attorney for Cassman and her husband, Michael, said in court papers.

President Bush has said he supports a constitutional amendment that would outlaw abortion except in cases of rape and incest or where a woman’s life is endangered. One such amendment being pushed by conservatives says life begins at conception.

Cassman and her husband, Michael, who live in Orange Park outside Jacksonville, asked for the dependent exemption in an amended tax return filed April 22. Internal Revenue Service officials told them to forget it.

″We have disallowed the claim because an exemption may not be claimed for an unborn child,″ Michael Allen, director of the IRS Service Center in Atlanta, wrote the Cassmans on Aug. 18.

John Jones, a Washington tax attorney who was acting head of the Justice Department’s tax division during the Kennedy administration, agreed, saying such arguments are ″frivolous.″

″The tax code has its own rules for determining eligibility and it’s been clear for 75 years that dependency starts with a live birth,″ he said.

On Sept. 30, the Cassmans took their demand for a refund to U.S. Claims Court in Washington, which handles claims against the government. The case has been assigned to Judge Wilkes Robinson.

Andrea Cassman has refused comment. Bishins said the effort is not politically motivated.

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