Adoption agreement

What is the Adoption Tax Credit?

The Adoption Credit is one of the biggest refundable tax credits offered in the U.S. tax code, and it can provide those who have adopted children with refund checks of many thousands of dollars.

Congress designed the Adoption Tax Credit to help lower and middle-class individuals and families offset some of the cost of adopting needy kids.

Although the Adoption Credit has been around since 1996, over time the credit has undergone several changes – not the least of which is that the IRS requires more documentation than ever from those hoping to receive this lucrative tax credit.

But don’t let the paperwork dissuade you or else you’ll miss out on the potential for a mighty big income tax refund check.

The Pros and Cons of Claiming the Adoption Credit

According to Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson’s 2012 Annual Report to Congress, the average taxpayer claiming the Adoption Credit received a federal tax refund check of more than $15,000.

So that should give you some motivation if you’re preparing your 2012 income taxes and were thinking about claiming the Adoption Credit.

In a nutshell, if you were wondering if it’s worth the hassle of adding up all your adoption expenses and supplying the IRS with extra paperwork, the answer is probably a resounding “Yes.”

To claim the Adoption Credit on your taxes, you or a tax preparer must fill out IRS Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses. You are also required to submit your taxes in the mail; you can’t use electronic filing.

And unfortunately, there is one other major downside to claiming the Adoption Credit: the IRS heavily scrutinizes those who claim adoption expenses. So realize that you are extremely likely to get audited if you do claim the Adoption Credit.

Still, if you have legitimate adoption expenses, the time and effort you’ll spend documenting your adoption costs and dealing with the IRS will likely be worthwhile financially – especially if you can secure a five-figure tax refund check for you and your family.

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