How to Take Adoption Tax Credit for Failed Adoption

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IRS form 8839
IRS form 8839 (Image: Julia Fuller IRS form 8839 2008 Tax Year)

IRS tax form 8839 allows individuals to take a federal income tax credit for adoption even if your dreams of adopting a baby or child last year were crushed when the adoption failed? On top of not having your precious child you spent thousands of dollars. Originally, you were expecting to write off $11,650 of those qualifying adoption expenses on your federal income tax return and recoup some of your expenses. Is there anyway you can still take the adoption tax credit for the failed adoption? According to the IRS form 8839, publication and instructions, "Information About Your Eligible Child or Children" Page 2, part one, "Yes," you can. In fact, the IRS has provided instructions to take the deduction even when you do not have all of the eligible child's required information such as a Social Security Number. How do you take the federal adoption tax credit for a failed adoption?

Things You'll Need

  • Federal Income Tax Form 8839
  • 8839 Instructions
  • 1040 Income Tax Form
  • Qualified adoption expenses
  • Eligible Child
  • Failed Adoption

Treat failed adoption expenses the same way for federal income tax credit purposes that you would treat adoption expenses for an adoption that was not finalized prior to the end of current tax year. In prior years, to claim adoption expenses you would need a child's social security number (SSN), an adoption taxpayer identification (ATIN), or an individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN).

Adoption Day
Adoption Day

Complete as much information about the child as you can on line 1 of form 8839, according to IRS form 8839, information publication.

Look at line 1 of form 8839
Look at line 1 of form 8839

Write the words "See Attached Statement," in the columns that you do not have complete information for, such as the SSN column. Then on a separate piece of paper, write or type your name, social security number, the name and address of the agency or attorney that assisted in the failed adoption. Indicate on the form that you had a failed adoption and do not have the child's SSN, birth date, or whatever your missing information is. Then attach the statement to your tax return.

Tips & Warnings

  • If, God forbid, you had more than one failed adoption for eligible children, the IRS says you should complete the "Child 1" line and "Child 2" line.
  • Do not give up on your dream of adoption, read about scammers, consider an infant who is already born.
  • Failure to follow the exact instructions provided in publication 8839 will result in your credit being disallowed. Those pursuing an international adoption that failed are not eligible to take the adoption credit.

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