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IRS: Illinois Adoptive Parents – Don't Leave Money Unclaimed

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April 2, 2012

CHICAGO - It's tax time, and the IRS is reminding Illinois parents who have adopted children to remember to apply for the Adoption Tax Credit. Michael Devine, IRS Midwest media relations spokesman, says the Affordable Care Act increased the amount of the credit and made it refundable, which means you can get the credit as a tax refund even after your tax liability has been reduced to zero.

"For tax year 2011 the maximum credit is $13,360. You have to file a paper return for 2011 if you want to claim the adoption credit."

Devine says that's because adoptive parents need to provide documents such as the final adoption decree, court documents, legal fees and, if the child has special needs, the state's determination papers for those needs. He says filing a paper return does mean waiting a bit longer to get the refund, about six to eight weeks.

Ruth Jajko, who helps parents with the adoption process at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois, says adopting a child can be expensive.

"Expenses for adopting a healthy infant run close to $20,000."

She says many families don't have that kind of money just sitting around, so they will need the refund.

"A lot of families take out a loan, for example, or borrow money from other family members, in order to facilitate an adoption."

Jajko has a lot of experience, not only on the job, but in her personal life. She and her husband adopted twin girls ten years ago.

More information is at www.adoptionillinois.org.

Mary Anne Meyers, Public News Service - IL