Can I claim my child on my tax return prior to the adoption being finalized.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows a child to be claimed on the adoptive parents tax return prior to finalization. Upon application, adoptive parent(s) can obtain an Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number (ATIN), which is a temporary nine-digit number issued by the IRS to individuals who are in the process of legally adopting a U.S. citizen or resident child. In order to obtain an ATIN, the adoptive parents may download IRS form W-7A Form W-7A, Application for Taxpayer Identification Number for Pending U.S. Adoptions from the IRS website,

Please be aware that this form is not to be used if the child is not a U.S. citizen or resident. Getting an ATIN takes 4-8 weeks. You can always amend your tax return if you have not received your ATIN in time to file. The ATIN issued to your child is a temporary tax identification number and expires 2 years from the date of issuance. After the adoption finalizes, you still must file for your child’s new social security number.

How do I get a Social Security number for my child once the adoption is finalized?

Social Security Association cannot assign a Social Security number to the child of a prospective adoptive parent(s) until the adoption is finalized. Once the adoption is finalized, you can obtain a social security number. First and foremost, the applicant (or someone applying on the applicant’s behalf) has to present the office with evidence to establish identity, proof of US citizenship or immigration status and age. In California, it is recommended that adoptive parent(s) submit the following documents or a combination of documents to the social security office: (1) to prove identity and U.S. citizenship: certified copy of the minor’s original birth certificate, certified copy of the child’s medical records from the hospital or certified copy of the California VS-44 form and (2) to prove your standing to apply on the applicant’s behalf: certified copy of the Adoption Order and certified copy of the Adoption Agreement. For more information, go online to or call 800-772-1213. If the person at the social security front desk is unsure of the requirements, ask for a supervisor. The procedure is spelled out in the manual, under section POMS SECTION RM-00203.200E.4.

Can I obtain a U.S. Passport for my child prior to the adoption being finalized?

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Yes it is possible. As soon as you are aware that you may need to travel internationally with your child prior to the adoption finalization, you will need a to obtain a certified copy of the minor’s original birth certificate. All children are required to have a passport when traveling outside of the United States. Minor children under the age of 16 are required to appear in person with both parents. If only one parent can be present, a notarized Statement of Consent from the absent parent must be presented along with the required supporting documents. A passport may be obtained on an expedited basis if needed in less than 2 weeks of the date of travel or within 4 week to obtain a foreign visa. If you have filed your adoption in California, and you plan to be out of the country for more than 30 days, you will be required to obtain Court permission in order to remove the child from the county where the adoption is pending.

Can I receive a tax credit for my adopted child?

You may be able to take a tax credit for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. For the adoption tax credit, qualifying expenses include reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, traveling expenses (including amounts spent for meals and lodging while away from home), and other expenses directly related to and for which the principal purpose is the legal adoption of an eligible child. An eligible child must be under 18 years old. The adoption credit cannot be taken for a child who is not a United States citizen or resident unless the adoption becomes final. For 2009, the maximum adoption credit is $12,150. The adoption credit begins to phase out if your modified Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is between $182,180 and $222,180. You cannot claim the credit or exclusion if your modified AGI is $222,180 or more.

A taxpayer also may be eligible to take an increased credit or exclusion for expenses related to the adoption of a child with special needs.

If you qualify to take the credit, speak with your tax advisor and/or complete Form 8839, which can be obtained at

Are there financial resources that can help defray the costs of adoption?

GIFT OF ADOPTION FUND: This nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation provides grants to adoptive parents in order to alleviate the financial burden of the adoption process. Its mission is to support adoption by providing funding to build bridges of hope for children and their families. Visit their website for more information or call 877-905-2367 or email:

Please note that visiting this website does not constitute an attorney-client relationship, nor does sending an email to us constitute an attorney-client relationship. Any information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, construed as legal advice.