Help make the federal adoption tax credit permanent

I posted on this a couple weeks ago but want to post again with more detailed info on how you can contact your Senator and Congressional representative to urge them to support “The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213.” This legislation will make the tax credit permanent. Unless legislation is passed, the Federal adoption tax credit that allows many adopting families to take a credit of up to $12,150 (2009) is scheduled to expire in December 2010.

Here’s what to do (much of the text below is updated from the Adoptivefamilies.com website):

  1. Find the name and Washington, D.C. mailing address of your Representative and Senators at www.congress.org. To find e-mail addresses, click through to the Senator’s or Congressperson’s Web site.
  2. Next, log on to http://thomas.loc.gov/ to find out whether your Congresspersons are already co-sponsors of the legislation. On the thomas.loc.gov opening page, under “Search Bill Summary and Status,” search by bill number for H.R. 213. Then click on “Bill summary and Status.” On the page that comes up, click on “Cosponsors,” “Text of Legislation,” or “All Congressional Actions” to follow the progress of the bill.
  3. If your representatives have not signed on as co-sponsors of the bill, send them your request that they do so. Tell them how important the tax credit was to you when you adopted your children, or how much you and other families you know are counting on it to be available in the future. Emphasize that the tax credit truly results in more children finding homes. Tell them that this is so important to you that you will be following the bill’s progress through Congress.
  4. INCLUDE A FAMILY PHOTO: While e-mails are valuable, a written note with a picture of your family or your children will be most effective. If sending e-mail, you’ll actually want to avoid attaching a photo; the large size of the message and the attachment could, potentially, mark it as junk or harmful e-mail.
  5. If any of your Congresspersons are already co-sponsors, write them a thank-you note. Again, letters sent by snail-mail with photos of your children will receive more attention.

To make it even easier, here is a sample letter that you can personalize with your own experiences:

SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR SENATOR or CONGRESSMAN:

The Honorable FIRST NAME LAST NAME
U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives
OFFICE ADDRESS
Washington, D.C. ZIP CODE

Dear Senator LAST NAME:

My family and I are your constituents in NAME OF TOWN. We request your support of The Adoption Tax Relief Guarantee Act of 2009, H.R. 213

The adoption tax credit that this legislation would make permanent is very important to my family and me. Without this significant financial help, we would not have been able (or would have found it very difficult) to adopt our beloved son (or daughter), NAME. I include a photo of my son/daughter.

As you may know, adoption expenses can easily exceed $20,000, a significant sum to most families. (Or, if your expenses were more, say so.) Without the adoption tax credit, we would probably not be able to adopt another child.

I truly believe that the adoption expense tax credit results in many more children without homes finding new, loving families like my own.
I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 213. This legislation is so important to me that I will be following its progress through Congress. Thank you in advance for your support of this legislation that truly serves children who need new families.

Sincerely,

YOUR NAME

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State Adoption Tax Credits

Along with the Federal Adoption Tax Credit, there are a number of States that also offer State level tax assistance for adoption.

For example, North Carolina has a State Adoption tax credit that is equal to 50% of the allowable tax credit claimed on your federal return (for 2009 that is $6,075).

$12,150 (2009 Federal Adoption Tax Credit) + $6,075 (2009 NC State Adoption Tax Credit) = $18,225 total Tax Credit.

One website lists the States below as having some assistance (be sure to check with your tax advisor since tax laws change frequently). Also, please let me know if your State has a tax credit or other assistance and is not listed below. I would love to compile an up-to-date list.

1. Arizona
2. California
3. Idaho
4. Iowa
5. Kansas
6. Maryland
7. Massachusetts
8. Michigan
9. Missouri
10. New Mexico
11. North Dakota
12. Oklahoma
13. Utah
14. West Virginia
15. Wisconsin

2009 Federal Adoption Tax Credit

For 2009, the maximum adoption credit has increased to $12,150. Also, the maximum exclusion from income for benefits under your employer’s adoption assistance program has increased to $12,150. Also for 2009, the income eligibility phase-out range for both programs has been adjusted to $182,180 – $222,180, with individuals earning more than $222,180 ineligible for either program.

(Source: IRS)