by Creating a Family**
Also available in a printable version
And folks remember, be as pleasant as possible when dealing with IRS personnel. They are simply doing their job.
- Read the IRS guidelines carefully on what documentation is required and send them exactly what they are requesting. (See below for links to all the relevant IRS guidelines.) Do not however, send more than they are requesting (with the exception of #3 below). This is not a case where more is better. Drowning the IRS agent with extraneous papers is not helpful and might cause delays.
- Send copies, not originals, unless specifically told otherwise, and even then, confirm that a copy would not be adequate.
- Although the IRS does not specifically require that the taxpayer submit proof of payment of the qualified adoption expenses when your return is first submitted, it is highly likely that you will be required to submit this proof before they approve your credit; therefore sending it at the beginning will probably speed up the process. Acceptable proof of payment includes copies of receipts, cancelled checks, or credit card statements. Some tips from our Facebook Support Group:
- If you submit an adoption agency receipt make sure it is signed by the agency.
- A receipt alone is seldom sufficient proof. You should include proof of actual payment as well (such as cancelled checks, bank statements, credit card statements, etc.) showing that you paid the fees listed on the receipt.
- Organize your supporting documents.
- Send them in the order they are requested on your return.
- Include a cover sheet listing the supporting documents for your claim.
- Include your name and social security number on each page of your documents.
- Label documents. For example, “Completed Home Study” or “Adoption Certificate” if it is not obvious on the first page.
- For multiple page documents, include sequential page numbers even if they are stapled. For example, p. 1 out 6, p. 2 out of 6, etc.
- After you have your documents assembled and organized, make a copy in the likely event that you are asked to resubmit them.
- One of the problems people reported from last year was the failure of the documents originally submitted to be included with the return when it was transferred to the correspondence auditor’s desk. One trick reported by our Facebook Support Group is to file your taxes without the adoption tax credit. The next day submit an amended return with the adoption tax credit included and all required documentation. Thus, the amendment with the attached documentation ends up on the correspondence auditor’s desk, rather than being separated. We discussed this trick on the Creating a Family radio show/podcast.
- Make certain the official seal is visible on the copy of your adoption decree.
- If you have enough expenses to more than cover the adoption tax credit, you may consider not including your costs for allowable birthmother expenses for domestic adoptions, since this may be a red flag for the IRS to audit. There is some debate amongst adoption and tax professionals whether these expenses should be included as qualified adoption expenses under the Adoption Tax Credit, but we are hearing reports that the IRS does not believe they should be included; therefore, inclusion might slow down your return.
- If you are asked to resend in documents that you have already sent in with your original filing, assume, unless told otherwise, that the documents submitted were sufficient, but did not accompany your return when forwarded to the auditor’s desk. In other words, do not go looking for additional documents; simply resend the documents you already sent. See # 5 above.
- Do not try to file electronically. You must mail in your return due to the documentation requirements.
Helpful Resources for the Adoption Tax Credit:
Making the Adoption Tax Credit Permanent:
A family should be the birthright of every child. Adoption is the best option for many children to have a permanent and forever family. Adoption is expensive—often very expensive, and the Adoption Tax Credit is often the deciding factor in whether or not a family will be able to adopt. Creating a Family and others are working to make the refundable Adoption Tax Credit permanent. There are several bills in Congress right now that would on the Adoption Tax Credit (see our blog), but none currently have refundability included. Creating a Family will keep you up to date with what is happening on the Adoption Tax Credit and let you know what you can do to support these efforts and when your efforts will be most effective. Please sign up for our weekly email newsletter to stay in touch with what is happening. It helps you by keeping you informed of what’s new in the adoption world, and it helps us further of mission of adoption education and support. You can find the sign up form on the upper left side of this page. We will never share or sell your email address or name with anyone. Period. Also join our Facebook Support Group.
*The information in this tip sheet is intended for general education. Specific questions of how it applies to your individual situation should be asked of your tax professional. The Adoption Tax Credit is complex, and we encourage you to hire a professional.
**Please do not print or use without crediting and including a link to Creating a Family. Thanks.