Thursday, December 22

Adoption Legislation

Would you really like to promote adoption and support adoptive families? Here's your chance! This year some adoption legislation was introduced that would make it financially easier to adopt. If you have adopted, are thinking of adopting, or are an adoption advocate, please write your representatives to urge them to vote for these bills! It's really easy. Just click on this link, locate your congressmen and senators (it's all automated and very easy), and then write your own letter or copy and paste the sample letter provided. The link also has a description of the legislation.

The current Adoption Tax Credit provides a tax credit (not a deduction!) to adoptive families of up $10,000 (actually it goes up slightly every year, but it's still less than $11,000) and allows you to carryover any unused portion for an additional five years. Our family has benefitted from the current tax credit, but only a little. As the law reads now, only adoptive families with a yearly tax liability of $1,667 or more will reap all the benefits from the credit. If your income is lower, hence your liability is lower, the carryover expires before you use up all the credit (seems counterintuitive to me), though every little bit helps. This new bill would not change anything for higher income earners, but would extend the same relief (maybe more) to those who need it most.

In our case we adopted two years in a row, so we in fact lose four years of our carryover since the five years run concurrently and not consecutively (we get six years instead of ten). We currently have $17,000+ of adoption tax credit to carryover for the next four tax years. I think our tax liability last year was less than $900, so unless my husband receives a substantial pay increase, there is no way we will even use up Ryan's tax credit and Abby's will remain wholly unused. If this new legislation is passed, we would be allowed to carryforward our tax credit until it is used up!

Also, they are proposing making it a refundable credit for people with lower incomes (I don't know if we would qualify or not), and that is the best possible fiscal news I can think of for people who are adopting! That means that at tax time adopting families would get an actual refund of up to $10,000 ($15,000 if the new bill is passed) of their adoption expenses instead of a credit against tax liability. Really fantastic!

One last note, this legislation is being proposed by Congressman Harold Ford Jr. of Tennessee. We lived in Memphis for six years, and he came into office while we were there (I didn't vote for him). I was frequently sending him emails to encourage him to vote pro-life only to be disappointed. I am so pleased to see he's doing something positive and pro-life! (For those of you who know my famous "Jesse Jackson Story," he was the congressman up on stage with Jesse who was running for his father's congress seat!)

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