If you adopted a child in 2011 or 2011, you are eligible to claim this credit. This "adjustment" allows a portion of your adoption expenses to be credited towards this year's tax bill.
• Outlines the basic criteria for qualifying
• Describes how the credit works
• Explains how you claim this credit when e-filing
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Individuals and families who have adopted a child either in 2011 are candidates for claiming this nonrefundable tax credit.
The adoption tax credit is intended to assist with any legal expenses. These include court and attorney fees, as well as the standard adoption fees.
These legal fees are often very costly,but you can claim up to $12,150 for each child adopted in 2011.
How the credit works
The specifications for this credit are pretty straightforward. You are allowed to claim your qualifying expenses up to the maximum for each child you have adopted.
In order to claim this credit you must have paid at least a portion of the adoption expenses. However, the adoption does not have to be finalized. This rule is especially important in cases of claiming the tax credit for international adoption. The maximum claim amount for the adoption tax credit is reduced if your income surpasses $182,180, and is phased out altogether for those earning in excess of $222,180.
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How to claim the adoption tax credit
To claim the adoption tax credit, you will need to fill out IRS Tax Form 8839, and include it with your return. If you e-file, this form is automatically filled out and submitted to the IRS.
When claiming the credit, each adopted child's identification number needs to also be submitted. This is usually just a social security number. However, there are instances when a social security number has not yet been assigned. For example, if the adoption is not legally completed. In this situation, secure an identification number for the child by filing a W-7 for children formerly residing in Canada and Mexico or a W-7A for a child formerly residing elsewhere.
To calculate your actual adoption tax credit, first establish the correct year to claim the credit and then determine your credit amount based on your modified adjusted gross income.
Usually, the credit is claimed the year after adoption expenses were paid. Again, in certain cases such as claiming the tax credit for international adoption, there are special rules that may dictate otherwise and the year you claim the credit is affected.
Related IRS publications
If you file a paper tax return, you will need to attach IRS Form 8839 with your return. (If you e-file, this will be done for you electronically.)
Note: you will need an Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these publications, which you can get here. (But you probably already have it.)
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