Adoption Tax Credit is Set to Expire. So?

After a few rounds of Clomid, or IUIs followed by IVF treatment, some couples are faced with the inevitability that having a child who is biologically linked to both of them won’t happen.

Over time and with some discussion, alternative paths to parenthood are considered - one of which is adoption. Those who have already spent a lot of their finances on assisted reproductive technology are often concerned about the financial costs and burden of adopting an infant or child.

The total cost of an adoption may range from $0 to $40,000 or more, depending upon the type of adoption pursued. While the upper ranges of these figures may seem daunting, The Adoption Tax Credit, first introduced in 1997, has provided relief to many who adopt either domestically or internationally. In fact, the IRS estimates the credit has benefited as many as 96,949 children and their families in 2010 alone.

While the amount of credit received many be limited by income, it can be applied to all the necessary expenses related to a legal adoption, including adoption fees, court costs, attorney's fees and travel expenses.

The Adoption Tax Credit is set to expire on December 31st 2012. If Congress doesn't take action, the credit will revert back to $6,000, a substantial drop from the $12,650 credit given this year.

The $6,000 will be limited to certain number of special needs adoptions and no credit at all will be given for most other types. A special needs adoption typically refers to children who have been in the foster care system and have special needs that require significant attention for many years following the adoption.

What does this significant drop mean and what happens if it expires? It means that countless children may age out of the foster care system without ever finding a family. International and domestic adoption would also be impacted upon adversely.

What is needed? Good legislation is vital at this point in the game.

The adoption tax credit needs to be permanent. It needs to be inclusive so that children from foster care, abroad and private domestic adoption and their families can benefit. The credit needs to be refundable, allowing families from lower income brackets to apply and it needs to be a flat tax.

'Save the Adoption Tax Credit' is the effort of a national collaboration of organizations and individuals called the Adoption Tax Credit Working Group formed to advocate for better legislation on this issue. To learn more information about their work you can visit their FaceBook page.

At an individual level, your voice is also extremely important. You too can advocate for better legislation. The Adoption Tax Credit Advocacy Kit is a complete kit with a sample letter for you to contact your Senator or Representative to register your concern.

Making this tax credit permanent is more than "just about the money". It's about creating families, providing safety, consistency and love to vulnerable children. The same vulnerable children who will one day become our care takers.

S. Fenella Das Gupta PhD Neuroscience, MFT is a licensed practitioner specializing in fertility issues. Her website is

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