Q&A: Tax credit for adopting a child

September 5, 2008

My wife and I are adopting a girl from China, and we'll fly to that country in late December or early January to finalize the process and bring her home. What's the maximum adoption tax credit we can claim on our 2008 return?

Q: My wife and I are adopting a girl from China, and we'll fly to that country in late December or early January to finalize the process and bring her home. What's the maximum adoption tax credit we can claim on our 2008 return?

A: You may be able to claim a credit for up to $11,650 of qualifying adoption expenses. To take that full amount, you and your wife must have a joint modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) of $174,730 or less for this year. The credit starts shrinking once MAGI tops that figure, and it disappears completely when MAGI reaches $214,730.

There's also a timing hitch: The adoption must be finalized by December 31 for you to claim the credit on your 2008 return. So if the happy event is delayed until January 2009, you'll have to wait until next year to claim the tax benefit.

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