IRS Inconsistencies: Section 213 and the Deductibility of Assisted Reproductive Technology

By Natalie Packard. 

The Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”) is a powerful tool that both reflects and shapes public policy. Through its complex set of deductions, tax rates, and credits, the Code creates financial incentives that encourage certain behavior, such as buying a house or donating to charity. While the Treasury Department writes the Code, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) performs the essential role of interpreting its language, hopefully in a way that reflects taxpayers’ values. Thus, as values change, the IRS’s application of the Code or the Code itself should change. Unfortunately, both Congress and the IRS can be slow to accept evolving values. As a result, many Code provisions preserve outdated and inaccurate assumptions about families, resulting in a “landscape of discrimination hidden within the tax code.” 

Section 213 is one such provision, where the IRS has applied a traditional view of family and medical care that discriminates against same-sex couples who want to have children. Full Article.