The Expanded Adoption Tax Credit

If you are adopting a child in 2011, the Affordable Care Act increased the amount of the credit and made it refundable, which means it can increase the amount of your refund.


  1. The adoption tax credit, which can be as much as $13,170, offsets qualified adoption expenses making adoption possible for families who could not otherwise afford it. Taxpayers who adopt a child in 2010 or 2011 may qualify if you adopted or attempted to adopt a child and paid qualified expenses relating to the adoption.

  3. Taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income of more than $182,520 in 2010 may not qualify for the full amount and it phases out completely at $222,520. The IRS may make inflation adjustments the phase-out amount as well as to the maximum credit amount.

  5. You may be able to claim the credit even if the adoption does not become final. If you adopt a special needs child, you may qualify for the full amount of the adoption credit even if you paid little or no adoption-related expenses.

  7. Qualified adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to the legal adoption of the child who is under 18 years old, or having physical or mental limitation making them incapable of caring for themselves. These expenses may include adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees and travel expenses.

  9. To claim the credit, you must file a paper tax return including Form 8839, Qualified Adoption Expenses. You must attach documents supporting the adoption. Documents may include a final adoption decree, placement agreement from an authorized agency, court documents and the state’s determination for special needs children. Failure to include required documents will delay your refund.

  11. The IRS is committed to processing adoption credit claims quickly, but it also must safeguard against improper claims by ensuring the standards for this important credit are met. If your return is selected for review, please keep in mind that it is necessary for the IRS to ensure the legal criteria are met before the credit can be paid. If you are owed a refund beyond the adoption credit, you will still receive that part of your refund while the review is being conducted.