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adoption tax credit

Resource Spotlight: Adoption Tax Credit for 2017

Resource Spotlight
brought to you by
Post-Adoption Counseling
a ministry of America World Adoption
 “….a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”Ecclesiastes 4:12



Adopting a child is expensive.  Program fees, travel fees, criminal backgrounds checks, and even small fees like notary stamps and apostilles, add up to big bucks.  Fortunately, a tax credit is available to help offset some of these expenses.  It was a close call this year, as President Trump’s tax legislation included a proposal to end the adoption tax credit.  This caused an outcry in the adoption community, and through a concentrated effort of petitions, emails and phone calls, the tax credit was reinstated in the amended tax reform bill.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to Congress and praise be to God!

Note that the adoption tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar credit, and not just a deduction, leading to significant savings on your tax liability.  Here are the highlights, in the nutshell, taken from the IRS instructions found here:  There’s also a great article from the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC) found here:


  • The tax credit for 2017 is $13,570.
  • The credit is available for each child adopted.
  • The full credit is available to people whose Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is less than $203,540.  For people with a MAGI between $203,540 and $243,540, the credit is reduced.  Folks with a MAGI above $243,540 are not eligible for the credit.
  • The year in which the credit is claimed varies based on the type of child adopted.  In general, families pursuing the adoption of a child born in the US and placed through a private or agency adoption can claim the credit in the tax year that the expense is incurred.  Families pursuing the adoption of a child born internationally can claim the credit in the tax year that the adoption is finalized.  Families adopting a child from foster care (and who meets certain criteria) can claim the credit in the tax year that the adoption is finalized, and those families can claim the entire credit whether they had expenses or not.
  • After you claim the credit, you have up to five years to claim any balance remaining on the credit.
  • The credit may be reduced if an adoptive parent’s employer has an Adoption Assistance Program that provided the employee with financial assistance.
  • Families must file IRS form 8839 to claim the credit.  At this time, this form cannot be submitted electronically and therefore families will have to file on paper, which can take much longer to receive a refund.

Be sure to consult with a tax professional to walk you through the requirements and process.  For more ideas on making adoption affordable through discounts, grants and loans, check out this page of our website:

Every child deserves a loving and stable home; the adoption credit may be the critical means for families to be able to provide that for a child in need.

To begin the adoption process, visit our Adoption Programs page or APPLY online.

Diane Hood, America World AdoptionThis article was written by Diane Hood, Clinical Supervisor with America World Adoption, and the Director of Social Services in our Georgia office.  Diane has more than 20 years experience in the adoption field and she is a parent by birth and by adoption.  
ACT (Adoption Coaching and Training) is a ministry of America World Adoption designed to support families through training, support groups, and individualized coaching.  Explore ACT services on our website HERE, and reach out to us today for a free consultation to make a plan to meet your needs.


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