October 4, 2010 12:00 am

Substantiation Required for Claiming the Adoption Credit

On 2010 returns, the amount of the adoption credit is up to $13,170, and it is fully refundable. Starting with 2010 returns, however, if you want to claim the credit for adopting a child, you’ll need to attach certain documents to your return. Without this substantiation, the IRS will disallow the credit. Because of the requirement to attach certain documents, if you claim an adoption credit, you cannot e-file your return.

Acceptable Substantiation

In addition to filing Form 8839, also attach:

  • For U.S. adoptions, attach a copy of the adoption order or decree.
  • For adoptions finalized abroad, include the child’s Hague Adoption Certificate, an IH-3 visa, or a foreign adoption decree translated into English. If the child’s country of origin is not a party to the Hague Convention, then attach a copy of the translated decree or an IR-2 or IR-3 visa.
  • If you adopt a special needs child, also attach the state determination certificate so you can claim the full $13,170, regardless of the adoption costs you paid.

Source: Notice 2010-66


Tax Glossary


A fixed deduction allowed to every taxpayer, except those who may be claimed as a dependent by another person. Extra exemption deductions are allowed for a spouse on a joint return and for each qualifying dependent. A deduction of $3,400 is allowed for each exemption claimed on 2007 returns, but the deduction is phased out for certain high income individuals.

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