The Adoption Tax Credit is not actually all that complicated to file yourself when doing your own annual taxes. But what if you have a question that isn’t easily answered? What if your adoption or your adoption expenses have something outside of the ordinary? Or, what if your credit was denied? How do you find someone to help?
We spoke with Becky Wilmoth, an Enrolled Agent and Adoption Tax Credit Specialist with Bills Tax Service in Illinois for our annual 2019 Adoption Tax Credit radio show/podcast. She suggested that when you need to find expert tax help, you should ask four important questions before handing over your documentation.
4 Questions to Ask When Looking for Expert Tax Help
- Are you an enrolled agent through the IRS? This designation represents the highest level of certification through the IRS, granting the right to represent taxpayers before the Internal Revenue Service for tax issues, including audits, collections, and appeals.
- How many Adoption Tax Credit returns have you done? The answer will determine his or her level of experience with adoption tax credit filings and, thus, representation if adoption tax credit claims are denied.
- Are you familiar with the adoption tax credit laws? Again, enrolled agents have studied tax law extensively and earned the designation to represent clients in specialized areas like the adoption tax credit.
- How many cases have you won when the IRS has denied the credit? The answer to this question can help you ascertain his or her ability to file for your credit correctly and to defend you if you have to appeal a denial.
Keep in mind, that while it may be a bit more convenient to use a local tax expert, it is not necessary. Most tax specialists are quite comfortable working with clients located next door or across the country.
What Documentation Do You Provide?
When you find an experienced and knowledgeable tax preparer to file your taxes, here are the documents you will need to provide. The tax preparer will complete Form 8839 “Qualified Adoption Expenses” and attach the form to your Form 1040 or Form 1040A.
- Final Judgment of Adoption (all adoptions)
- Adoption Assistance Eligibility Determination (Subsidy Agreement) that declares the child to have special needs if claiming credit for a child declared to be special needs by your state through foster care (foster adoptions)
- A home study/placement agreement completed by an authorized placement agency (all adoptions except foster)
- All documentation of paid qualified expenses. (all adoptions except foster)
- All documents must be signed and dated. (all adoptions) The IRS will not accept any Home study/Placement agreement, Judgment of Adoption, or Subsidy agreement/Eligibility agreement without it being signed and dated by the proper authorities.
It’s essential also to remember that you should keep all of these records in a secure, clearly marked file or envelope for seven years after the filing, in case the IRS audits your claim.
For many more helpful resources on the Adoption Tax Credit, go to our Adoption Tax Credit Headquarters.