Last updated: June 2016
Adoption costs range anywhere from $0 to over $40,000 depending on the type of adoption pursued. Individuals and couples considering adoption should research opportunities to defray adoption costs through tax credits and other benefits. Below is an outline of some of the ways to decrease adoption costs.
Federal Adoption Tax Credit
A federal adoption tax credit of $13,400 per child is available for domestic adoptions. The credit increases for domestic adoptions of children with special needs.
People earning more than $201,010 or more in adjusted gross income receive a reduced tax credit. People earning $241,010 or more receive no tax credit. (These figures are for 2015. Limits are adjusted for inflation and may change from year to year.)
Several states also offer tax credits for couples adopting children from the state's child welfare system. To learn if your state offers a tax credit, contact your state department of taxation, tax attorney or state adoption specialist.
Special Needs Benefits
Federal and state adoption subsidies may be available for the ongoing care of children with special needs. Check with your adoption agency.
Employer Adoption Benefit Programs
Ask if your employer offers:
- Financial assistance through reimbursement of a portion of adoption expenses
- Paid or unpaid leave time
- Employee Assistance Program with adoption information and referral services
Federal Family and Medical Leave Act
The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees that employees who adopt can take up to 12 weeks of leave with no interruption in health benefits if they meet the following conditions:
- They have worked for at least the last 12 months for the same employer.
- They worked at least 1,250 hours over the previous 12 months.
- They work for an employer who has 50 or more employees.
If you are an active-duty member of the military, you may be eligible for reimbursement of up to $2,000 in one-time domestic or international adoption costs, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education. If you adopt a child with disabilities, he or she also may be eligible for up to $1,000 a month in assistance under the military's Program for Persons with Disabilities.