Missouri lawmakers renew charitable tax credits

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | 8:35 p.m. CDT; updated 10:42 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 13, 2013

JEFFERSON CITY — Food pantries and other charitable causes could receive a financial boost after Missouri legislators gave final approval Wednesday to a measure renewing several tax credit programs. Yet state aid could come to an end for families adopting children from other states or nations.

The House and Senate each gave overwhelming approval to the tax-credit legislation, sending it to Gov. Jay Nixon a day before lawmakers are to depart for a weeklong break.

The bill would reinstate tax credits for food pantry donations that expired in August 2011. It also would renew tax credits that expired last August for donations to pregnancy resource centers and to organizations that provide services to children who are abused, neglected or in the state foster care system.

Other tax credits gaining renewal under the bill offer benefits to surviving spouses of deceased public safety officers and to people who make improvements so that their homes are accessible to the disabled.

The legislation would extend all those tax credit programs through 2019, but the bill would eliminate tax credits for parents who adopt children from outside of Missouri, leaving the benefits in place only for the adoption of Missouri children who have "special needs." The tax credit is intended to help cover nonrecurring adoption costs, such as home visits and legal fees, and is limited to $10,000 per child.

Under current Missouri law, "special needs" has been interpreted fairly broadly to include children with disabilities, sibling groups of three or more children, minorities and those with prenatal exposure to drugs or alcohol. Missouri has offered $2 million in incentives annually for in-state adoptions and an additional $2 million for out-of-state adoptions.

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