The U.S. government offers an Adoption Tax Credit of as much as $13,400 per adopted child as of August 2015, according to the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Families with less than $201,010 in adjusted gross income can claim the full $13,400 credit, while families with less than $241,010 can receive a partial tax credit. Families with more than $241,010 in income may not claim any amount.
The Adoption Tax Credit is non-refundable, so families may only use it to reduce any tax liabilities and not to receive a payment if they do not owe taxes, notes the North American Council on Adoptable Children. In order to claim the credit, an individual must have adopted a child under 18 years of age. Taxpayers may normally only claim the amount of their actual adoption-related expenses, up to the overall cap. However, taxpayers who have adopted children with special needs can claim the full $13,400 regardless of their actual expenses, and the 18-year age limit does not apply. In order for the government to consider a child to have special needs, he must meet a number of criteria, and his state must determine that his adoption would not have occurred without additional financial assistance for his new parents.
In order to claim the credit, taxpayers must complete IRS Form 8839 and attach it to the Form 1040 when filing their income taxes, explains the North American Council on Adoptable Children. Taxpayers without sufficient income to make use of the credit may carry it forward to future years.