Delays in Receiving the Adoption Tax Credit-What You Can Do

Dawn Davenport


adoption tax credit delays

Waiting for your adoption tax credit? You’re not the only one.

Delays in receiving the Adoption Tax Credit refund is probably the most discussed topic this week on every adoption forum or group on the internet.  Creating a Family has been inundated with complaints about delays in receiving the Federal Adoption Tax Credit refund and requests to find out what is happening.  We have attempted to do just that. I will caution that due to the fast approaching tax filing deadline, folks at the IRS are hard to reach and clear information from them is not forthcoming. I do however think we can shed some light for you on what is the current lay of the land for those who are hoping to get an Adoption Tax Credit refund this year and make suggestions if your return is being reviewed. Check out our Top Ten Tips for Avoiding Delays When Filing for the Adoption Tax Credit.

The Health Care Reform bill, which became law on March 22, 2010, changed the Adoption Tax Credit from a standard tax credit (where any taxes you owe are reduced by the amount of the credit) to a refundable tax credit (where you receive the credit in the form a refund regardless how much you owe in taxes).  In other words, a refundable tax credit lets you get a cash refund even if you owe no taxes. CNN Money calls this “the tax equivalent of hitting the jackpot.”   To further fuel the jackpot analogy, it is possible to get this refund for adoptions which took place up to five years ago if previous adoption credits have not been fully used. It may even be possible to get the refund for expenses from a failed domestic adoption.  And if the children you adopted domestically had special needs, you can get the refund even if you did not incur the expenses.  In short, the Adoption Tax Credit is a big darn deal for the adoption community and has certainly promoted adoption.  The purpose of this blog is not an introduction to the Adoption Tax Credit, but you can get more information from the extensive resources on our Adoption Tax Credit page on the Creating a Family website, including an hour long podcast.

Delays in the Adoption Tax Credit in 2011

The IRS is struggling with the Adoption Tax Credit refund this year.  Although the law making it refundable was passed in March of last year, the actual forms for filing did not come out until February of 2011. That’s right, less than two months ago. The IRS has not had much time to train its employees and develop an infrastructure to process this new refundable credit.  Some IRS offices have acknowledged that their personnel have only received training within the last few weeks.  From what I’m hearing, some IRS personnel have not yet been trained and are giving erroneous information.  As long as I’m giving the IRS its due, I should add that the IRS claims that many of the refunds requesting the Adoption Tax Credit are missing required documentation or have errors, and as such should be delayed.

Also, since the adoption credit for adoptions in 2010 is no longer based on a person’s tax liability and since families can go back to capture credit from adoptions as far back as five years ago, many people are requesting huge (or at least substantial) refunds. I have no way of knowing, but it is possible that the IRS had not anticipated these large refunds and is reeling a bit and playing catch up.  Nicole Albrecht, our wonderful adoption tax credit expert, says that delays are not uncommon with other potentially large refundable tax credits for the same reason.  The IRS has acknowledged that “We’re just being very careful because it’s a big chunk of money.

Timeline for IRS Delays

Most adoptive parents trying to claim this adoption tax credit are reporting some variation of this timing.

  • They mail in their return with supporting documentation of their adoption expenses.
  • Some, otherwise known as the “Lucky Few”, report that they have received their full refund, including the adoption tax credit.
  • Most report receiving a letter from the IRS saying that they have received the tax return and it is being reviewed [which in reality is a partial audit].  “Once our review is completed we may send you your refund, ask you for additional information or clarification on items on your return, or deny your refund. If you do not agree with our decision, you will have a chance to appeal.”
  • They later receive a letter from the IRS requesting that within 30 days they send in documentation that they qualify for this credit and that they have actually incurred these expenses. Often parents report that they have already sent this documentation with the original filing.  We have not heard from anyone who received the “you are in review” letter who then received their refund rather than the “we need more information” letter.  However, I have been told that this has happened to a few people working with the Tax Advocacy office (more on them later).
  • At some point, most people receive the part of their refund that is not the adoption tax credit.

From the reports we are getting from adoptive parents, there is no overarching pattern as to who gets through easily and who gets reviewed. Our analysis would make my college statistics teacher apoplectic, but we hope to do better with the results of the survey at the end of this blog.  We have no way of knowing how many Lucky Few are out there, or even if they are few in number.  The vast majority of people who have contacted us are the Unlucky Many who are having their returns reviewed, but that stands to reason since the Lucky Few are content and happy and not likely to contact us just to brag.

For the Unlucky Many , it doesn’t seem to matter whether they adopted domestically or internationally or whether they adopted a child with special needs or not.  It does not seem to matter where people filed their returns, so apparently no one office is more likely to send adoption tax credit returns for review.  Interestingly, it does not seem to matter how large the refund was, which if true, somewhat defeats the “IRS trying to save money” argument.  I have heard from a couple of people who were told by the Tax Advocacy office (more on them later) that the IRS plans to review ALL returns claiming the Adoption Tax Credit at some point, even if refunds had already been sent. I don’t have independent confirmation on this, but it’s worrisome since many people will have already spent their refund.

How Long Will IRS Review for the Adoption Tax Credit Take

Unfortunately, estimates on how long the IRS review will take are all over the board. Let’s start with what the IRS is saying.  On their website, the IRS says to allow 6 weeks after they receive your further documentation for a response. Note that they did not say that they would be finished with their review in 6 weeks, only that they would be back in touch within that time. IRS Publication 552 includes information on tax record keeping and has a section on how to get tax help. The part of this section that deals with checking the status of your refund on Where’s My Refund (located on the IRS website) says:

Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. If you filed Form 5405, 8379, or 8839 [adoption tax credit] with your return, wait 14 weeks.

We have heard reports from people who say that the IRS has told them over the phone that is will likely be more like 60-90 days due to their backlog.

Tax Credit for Special Needs Adoptions

Adoptive parents of special needs children are allowed the maximum tax credit regardless of their adoption expenses.  The instructions for IRS Form 8839 specify what is considered a special needs adoption.  Keep in mind that approximately 80% of children adopted from foster care will qualify.  Basically, if you are receiving any form of subsidy from the state, your child will likely qualify.  Unfortunately, this does not apply to children with special needs adopted internationally.

We are hearing reports from a few parents that the IRS is requesting proof of their adoption expenses even though their child qualifies as a special need adoption.  Documentation of expenses is not required for domestic special needs adoptions. If this has happened to you, contact the North American Council on Adoptable Children at

What to Do if Your Adoption Tax Credit is Being Reviewed

  • If you received the first letter notifying you that your return is under review, start pulling together all your documents, including proof of payment for all qualified adoption expenses. The Internal Revenue Manual provides the actual guidelines used by IRS auditors when reviewing your return to see if you qualify. It is really helpful to look through section of this manual to see what type of proof they expect to see. You can also check the instruction for Form 8839, for more specifics.
  • Have your documents ready to mail or fax the day you receive the second letter.
  • When you receive the second letter requesting documentation, read it carefully and make sure you send them exactly what they are requesting.
  • Make sure to include the bottom tear-off portion of the notice along with your document.
  • Write your taxpayer identification number on each page of the documentation in case they get separated.
  • Mail to the specific IRS address included with the notice.  You can also fax in your documents, although we’ve heard from some people that the fax number is continually busy. If that is the case, don’t waste time continuing to try. Mail your documents in a manner where you can track their progress.
  • Don’t argue with the IRS that you’ve already sent them this information with the original return.  A different office may be reviewing the adoption tax credit part of your return and your original documentation may have stayed with your return. You may be right that you shouldn’t have to resubmit documentation, but would you rather be right or get your credit refund sooner?
  • Keep copies of everything you send to the IRS.
  • Remember: Getting angry will not help and will give you wrinkles and ulcers—neither of which you need.  Resign yourself that nothing will happen as fast as you want.
  • Choose one of the following mantras to repeat over and over:
    • Good things come to those who wait.
    • Patience is a virtue.

Taxpayer Advocate Service

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps without charge taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm due to not receiving their refund.  They consider economic harm as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food.  We have heard from families that have been accepted because they could not afford to pay for therapeutic services for their child with special needs. They will also help taxpayers who believe that the IRS system “is not working as it should”.  You must first try to resolve your problem through normal channels.

If you qualify for TAS help, you’ll be assigned an advocate to help you navigate the IRS system. There is at least one taxpayer advocate in every state. You can find their phone number at the TAS website or call their toll-free line at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059. You can also check out their Facebook page, or send them a tweet at @YourVoiceAtIRS.

Help Make the Adoption Tax Credit Permanent

A family should be the birthright of every child.  I firmly believe that adoption is the best option for many children to have a permanent and forever family.  I don’t need to tell you that adoption is expensive—often very expensive, and the Adoption Tax Credit is often the deciding factor in whether or not a family will be able to adopt.  The refundable Adoption Tax Credit will expire Dec. 31, 2011 unless it is renewed by Congress.  There are several bills in Congress right now that would extend the Adoption Tax Credit. Creating a Family will keep you up to date with what is happening on the Adoption Tax Credit and let you know what you can do to support these efforts.  Please sign up for our weekly email newsletter to stay in touch with what is happening. It helps you by keeping you informed of what’s new in the adoption world, and it helps us further of mission of adoption education and support.  You can find the sign up form on the upper left side of this page.  We will never share or sell your email address or name with anyone. Period.

Share your experience in the comment section.  You might also find helpful two subsequent Creating a Family blogs on the Adoption Tax Credit:


P.S. Creating a Family is not equipped to answer your specific tax questions or give you specific tax advice. You should ask you tax professional questions about your situation since our information is only intended as general information. We do have a terrific tax expert, Nicole Albrecht, who handles questions that come to our Ask the Expert tax credit page.  Needless to say, she is “up to her ears in alligators” right now crunching numbers and filling out forms like crazy, so she won’t be answering any more of your tax questions until after next week. In the meantime, if you have general questions on the Federal Adoption Tax Credit, listen to or download our hour long Creating a Family radio show we did on this topic, check out the Q and A’s on our Adoption Tax Credit Ask the Expert page , and all the resources on our Adoption Tax Credit page.

P.P.S. Check out this fun video of a family that adopted five kids from foster care who found out that due to the Adoption Tax Credit they were going to get a refund of $54,292. Their annual income was around $39,000. I should probably note that I don’t know whether they have received their refund or if they are being reviewed.


Image credit: Xtina L

15/04/2011 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog | 721 Comments

721 Responses to Delays in Receiving the Adoption Tax Credit-What You Can Do

  1. Avatar says:

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    This type of clever work and coverage! Keep up the amazing works guys I’ve included you guys to my own blogroll.

  2. Avatar Angeles says:

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  3. Avatar nicole j says:

    he all My fellow Adoptive parents. i have been reading these blogs for about 3 weeks… i have senr
    t my amended re5urn 4/14/12 the recieved it 16 th got first lertter in june ..wait 45 days did that got another letter wait another 45 day…. decided to Get TA called myself in bginnjuly 10th got a return call…in 2 days…i just want to say my TA got my return dd friday ..i adopted t3special need kids in 2010. n 1 2011! call ta tell them your getting ebicted lights off somethin…to those who took out loans to adopt? ur ludicrus…y? where they do that at who garanteed this credit.? idiots.. and those talking about i planed vacation and trips and now i cant go?? gues what? TOiooo DAMN BAD the credit and for you too BAll OUT! anyway those who adopted for the right reason..THE CREATOR TAKE U THRU IT..SO U CAN GET TO IT! STAY FAITHFULL ALMOST 4 MONTHS AND I GOT FULL CREDIT PLUS INTEREST…GOD WORKS FOR HIS WORKERS not the Talkers!! sirry! keep ur head up Struggling forsyer to adopt parents!:)

  4. Avatar Jase says:

    We FINALLY received our money (with interest) on July 5th! Just had to wait it out.

  5. Avatar Jase says:

    I called back and spoke with someone else. Apparently the first person reversed the date. Our case closed on the 21st and we should get our money between 2 to 4 weeks! Finally! Those of you who’ve had your case close, what is the general time it takes to be deposited?

  6. Avatar Jase says:

    Well, I called this morning and they told me that our case was closed in our favor on the 12th, but that there is no word on the release date. Why? You’d think they’d want to get it out since they have to pay interest. The funny thing was I called last Monday and they told me they were working on “those dates”, which I assume was the date I had sent the documents in that they had asked for. Who knows when they will get us the money…soon I hope!

  7. Avatar Jase says:

    Still waiting! Very frustrating. No one wants to help at all. So, I wait!

  8. Avatar Jase says:

    Well, we filed back on Feb. 17…resubmitted documents on 4/12, got a letter last week stating they received my documentation on 4/12 and that we should give them until 6/26.
    I tried to get a tax advocate and they told me that we didn’t have an emergency…me being out of work for a year with no unemployment didn’t constitute an emergency!
    This is very discouraging…

  9. Avatar Jase says:

    We faxed our information to them. Ours is a special needs adoption from foster care. I’ll check with them this week to make sure things are going well. When I had called a tax advocate before they told me you have to have proof that you are about to lose your home, can’t pay medical bills, or about to lose your vehicle before they will get involved. Is this true?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jase, there seems to be a fair amount of leeway given tax advocates in determining what is considered “significant hardship”. I suggest calling again and if you are lucky you will get to speak with a different advocate and maybe they will deem your situation as hardship enough for them to get involved.

  10. Avatar Jase says:

    I just received my letter requesting more information as well. It did have the bright pink slip inside for me to attach to the top of my information. All they asked for was a copy of birth certificates and social security cards. We don’t even have they new BC’s yet. No no SS card either. I called an examiner and he said send what I have with a letter of explanation. Then he asked about the adoption decree and I told him I sent it in already. He told me to send everything.
    They aren’t allowed to send out information from one location to another.
    So, I will hit the fax machine tomorrow and send everything with my SS number on every page!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jase, I can’t remember if your adoption was a special needs adoption from foster care. If not, make sure to include proof of payment for the expenses you are claiming.

  11. Avatar jackie says:

    Dawn Hi im curious about #396 & 427 did i read that right?they received the return on 2-27-2012? and the return is being processed already?I think thats faster than most. Do you think because mine was an amended return its going to take longer? mine was receive on 2-22-2012 and havent begin to be processed.How long before I can get a advocate.LoL.Dawn and i have a question when i mailed my amended return I didnt send the amended years 08 and 09. 08 was the year my adoption became final. She amended them in order to get the credit for 2010. but after reading some of the post on this website I went back and sent 08 and09 certified which they have received already because ive got the green card back already. do you think they will be confused or should i have waited until they asked for 08 and09? Find time to ask now huh.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      As a general rule, we recommend waiting until they ask for information until you send it. Then, send exactly what they are asking for following the tips on our Top Ten Tips for Avoiding Delays When Filing for the Adoption Tax Credit . And yes, some people are reporting fast processing.

  12. Avatar Ethiopian Woman says:

    Excellent web site. Plenty of helpful information here. I am sending it to several friends ans additionally sharing in delicious. And obviously, thank you to your effort!

  13. Avatar Jase says:

    I spoke with a tax advocate today. She told me that being out of a job for a year, with no unemployment is not a hardship. She couldn’t help me. I was called back by a tax advocate from my state and they said my return is being examined. I was given a phone number and called it. The man I spoke with there said my return is being examined but no letters have been sent out at this time. He did give me a number to fax my information which I had already sent. That’s where we stand right now. I’ll keep updating.

  14. Avatar Tim says:

    Well, I am not counting on any proposed dates or even checking the website. When it gets here,it gets here. If the IRS needs additional information, then I will make sure I have proper documentation and proof of receipt. God knows what my family needs and He has provided above and beyond. My trust is in him, not the IRS. I do understand the situations other families are in, and the government needs to be fair about their information. Leading people on and then making resend information makes no sense. I wonder if anyone knows a family that didn’t get the run around.

  15. Avatar jackie says:

    Hi i spoke with the irs on yesterday and i was told that they received my amended return on 2-22-2012 and it had been assigned to someone but whomever it was assigned to havent begin to process it.I think thats sad.But im going to be patient. maybe i will here something in a couple of months.

  16. Avatar Jase says:

    I still haven’t received a letter. WMR still saying expect refund by 4/17. I try to talk to someone today and kept getting automated messages as if I were checking WMR. I called a tax advocate line to see if they can help, but I haven’t heard back from them yet. I’ll keep everyone posted as to what we hear.
    If the wait is going to be 14 weeks, then they need to put that date instead of 4/17, 4/10 or 4/24.

  17. Avatar jackie says:

    Hi everyone I talked with someone at the irs today. I guess im at the bottom of this long ride with the irs. I adopted in 08 so h&r block amended my 2010 taxes and we didnt send the 08 and 09 amended return so i was told by them that i needed to amend those two years before i could do a carryforward in 2010. I wish i would have know that a month ago.

  18. Avatar Jase says:

    Hey guys. My wife and I adopted 3 children from foster care. They are special needs because of their age and they are a large sibling group. We filed our taxes on Feb. 17. Have not received anything yet. I do know that according to the IRS website it says we should have our refund by April 24th. This has changed from April 10 and 17. It says due to processing delays, but I’m not sure if that’s the case. Anyone else had that same message?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jase, lots of folks are getting that message and hearing the April 24th date. I suspect it’s the default message and date being used by the IRS. Nothing to do now, but wait and see if they go ahead and process or send your return for audit. Let us know what you hear. If you haven’t already done so, post this info and keep tabs on what’s happening to others, over at the Creating a Family Facebook Support Group.

  19. In case you haven’t seen it, I posted a blog about The Future of the Adoption Tax Credit for 2012, 2013, and beyond. I wonder what all the problems the IRS has had with processing this credit will have on the soon to be initiated debates on continuing the credit and continuing to make it refundable.

  20. Avatar Debbie Cooper says:

    We filed our taxes in March, got audited and sent in all required paperwork by May and received our refund via direct deposit in August.

  21. Avatar BooBoo Justthemomforthejob says:

    We have gotten ours but only after contacting our State Rep. and having him launch a Congressional Inquiry with the IRS. Once we did that, things moved QUICKLY and we got all of our money.

  22. Avatar Dawn says:

    have been making inquiries about whether the IRS has been assessing penalties to people who incorrectly filed for the Adoption Tax Credit and were denied. We (Creating a Family) has heard from a few people, but the professionals I’ve contacted have heard of very few. Usually the adoption tax credit claims that are being rejected are because the tax payers made a mistake and were ineligible for the credit and they were not paid the money. In this case, there should be no penalty. If it is considered tax fraud, then you can be charged a penalty. If you have been charged a penalty even after you have explained the mistake, you will likely need to hire a tax attorney to fight it.

  23. Avatar John says:

    @Jerry: “….got a letter that they disallowed our adoption credit and then to rub salt into the wound, charged us a $2500 penalty for substantial underpayment and adequate disclosure”

    Exact same thing just happened with my wife and I after sending them all required adoption paperwork. Not looking good!

  24. Avatar Russ says:

    We adopted two American special needs children in 2010. We are thankful for the refundable credit. My question is: Are we also entitled to an exclusion from income of the $13,170 regardless of proven adoption costs expended?

  25. Avatar Jen Gee says:

    “Just be patient” and “it all works out” are not helpful comments, and not necessarily true. Maybe you missed the news article about the families who did get screwed out of refunds by the IRS this year. And maybe you aren’t one of the families who took out huge adoption loans and counts on this money to pay them off. The unnecessary delay has last months. It’s not like the IRS didn’t know this was going to happen. They should have been prepared to handle this, and clearly they weren’t — and it’s the families paying the price.

  26. Avatar Jennifer Meininger says:

    According to their instructions on the 8839 form – I sent the appropriate documents. However I still got my delay letter today. Sigh.

  27. Avatar Chrissy Jensen says:

    Question…if the refundable credit is in place till Dec.’11…if an adoption is completed IN 2011, can you claim it in Feb for your 2011 taxes if it expires?

  28. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I actually filed an Amended return for 2011 in 2013 and IRS received it on Apr 1st, 2013. After 12 weeks, my file status says to call them, and when I did, I had to wait 30 minutes or more to talk to someone. It has been 16 weeks and every time I call, I get different information or explanation. It is with the document examination dept., or so they say. I have not received any letter for additional documents yet. I have learned not to count on the refund and will just be greatful when it does.

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  31. Avatar Jorge says:

    Reference post 609. Well, the nightmare has started all over again. After receiving my full credit earlier in the year, I got a letter from the IRS in October stating that they were “reviewing” my 2011 tax return. That’s their friendly word for “audit.”

    I had to provide proof that my adopted children were indeed adopted. After all the paperwork I did, and after them sitting on my return for 3 months, and after them finally giving me the money I filed for, they now turn around and say I have no proof that the children are my dependents!

    So, I sent in all the paperwork I sent before, plus more “proof” that the children are mine. I sent at least a half inch thick stack of papers.

    I get a letter back saying they are reviewing my case. Another letter says I will hear back sometime in January. I finally get a letter on 12/31/2012 saying they believe the children are my dependents, but they don’t believe they are special needs, and that I owe almost $50,000 which includes a 20 percent penalty!

    Now I’m sending the same documentation AGAIN that shows without any doubt that my children are special needs.

    When does this nightmare end? How do I get the IRS off my back and get them to close the case?

  32. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Hopefully this is it!

  33. Avatar Dave says:

    Well, kids have much awaited stuff they need for medical purposes, we have a little more breathing room, and possibly time away sometime after the kids are more independant, could be some time. Our vehicle got some much needed maintenence, and our newly adopted children got some savings. Seems like a lot, but one can dwindle through it quickly, so I am not planning on wasting anything. Again, thanks for having the site available…it helps.

  34. Avatar Dave says:

    Exactly 1/2 year.

  35. Avatar Dave says:

    Thanks for the site to vent. On this day in 2012, no more waiting, YAYYYYY! Not much in the way of interest, several hundred, (4), but well take it. Not bad for not expecting it in the first place. So five actual postal days to arrive.
    So it was accepted in May and we got it on Nov.23… 28, almost 29 weeks.

  36. Avatar Dave says:

    TA says it takes two weeks to actually make it to your mailbox from the time they mail it. Is it coming from China?

  37. Avatar Dave says:

    Time line: IRS received on 5/7.
    First letter on 10/25, 2nd a week later, and notice to send one week after that, and as long as all goes as planned, received 5 working days later.

  38. Avatar Dave says:

    So it will be mailed tommorow, and prob. be here Wed. next week.

  39. Avatar Dave says:

    First apprvl letter Oct 25, second last wk, now still waiting….but with a light at the end of the tunnel.

  40. Avatar Dave says:

    Ok, so first letter was letter of apprval, 2nd letter says they have updated our 1040 to include the interest, and we will receive it in 2-3 wks, so give it another month.

  41. Avatar Dave says:

    Well, another week and zilch….

  42. Avatar Dave says:

    Well, a letter of approval from the irs, how nice after 6 months. Now instead of give it a month, it’s give it 2 months.

  43. Avatar Dave says:

    One more thing, if I have succesfully submitted all docs, and have done it the right way, then why so long?

  44. Avatar Dave says:

    Course I am reluctant to say anything here, because who knows who is reading this. I dont need it to take another month, I need the funds yesterday,so I can get things back on the road, and to keep a roof over our head, although it needs some work.

  45. Avatar Dave says:

    Apparently the congress persons office was told it was approved but takes weeks to add that into the system file. We will see. Nothing from the IRS as of yet, not a letter, or anything else, just when I call, they have said, give it another month.

  46. Avatar Zeny says:

    We are still waiting for the adoption credit. I file since may 2012. we still havent heard a lettern on june stating that give them 45 days , another letter august 45 days . Irs rep told me they reffer me to another dept. wait 30 days nothing happen.august they send to tax advocate advocate deny because the rep i talk to said we have to be in hardship.called Nov 1 our file was sent to memphis for review . we have to wait 30 days for them to review. I hope we hear from them nov 31.

  47. Avatar Dave says:

    OK officially 6 months, not a word.

  48. Avatar Dave says:

    The TA closed the case. The IRS guy told me they have scanned the documents in the system, and it is in the examiners office, could be another 30 days. That is what I have been told all along, another 30 days. I was also told that since the credit is refundable, that every adoption credit is thrown into the examiners office. I am aware that no-one is above the IRS people, just like FEMA.

  49. Avatar Dave says:

    Hows this post I found on line:
    Yep. I could have told them that without all the research. They have repeatedly denied our claim, even though we’ve sent EVERY required document to them now 4 times, and even tossed in a few extra for good measure. The denial letters we get say “required deficient documentation listed on the next page” and the next page is BLANK (twice now). When I try to read their own form back to them, since they’re asking for things no one in the accounting world or the adoption world has ever heard of, they hang up on me. We’ve now handed it over to the Tax Advocate Service & contacted both our Senators to rattle some cages because we’re sick of 8 months of constant battles. I would still love to sugar up my adopted son & let him terrorize their offices for a couple hours – I guarantee they’ll send the refund instantly!

  50. Avatar Dave says:

    OK, nothing yet, not a letter or any communication since I sent the forms out and they were received on May7.

  51. Avatar Dave says:

    Well, 5 months, and I was told today that since an advocate got involved, it will be thrown into review and take even longer, and more info will be requested, to make it harder, and longer….

  52. Avatar Dave says:

    well, 19 weeks not a word. I called the other day and was told since an advocate is involved, they wont tell me anything, only the advocate.

  53. Avatar Dave says:

    Well, another week, not a word.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Oh Dave, I have nothing to offer other than to say “hang in there”. Go back and read the comments to this blog, and you’ll see plenty of others who waited and waited, but ultimately received their credit.

  54. Avatar Dave says:

    Thank you Dawn. Still not a word from the irs, only when I ask a question, and then i am told, to wait, and then nothing. I am sure of one thing, if you want something bad enough, youd better do it right, and expect no one to do it for you.

  55. Avatar patience says:

    Hey Everyone!! FYI… and UPDATE::
    cant believe it came, what a loong wait. I also got 1,200 in interest. very nice surprise! all in all it took about 20 weeks. didnt even receive a letter until 3 weeks ago. they said the mail check date was sept 10th. so everything was just a bit misconstrued information. Thankful we FINALLY got it. i guess.. Patience just pay off 🙂 Good luck everyone, have a great day.

  56. Avatar Dave says:

    One more thing. Here is the statement from the IRS web site copied and pasted: “It is necessary for the IRS to review the documents submitted. Normally, for a tax return claiming the adoption credit, it takes about six to eight weeks to get a refund claimed on a complete and accurate paper return, where all required documents are attached”.
    So this is why we begin to see this in weeks, and expect a return sooner than we do. It should read:”up to 6-8 months.”

  57. Avatar Dave says:

    By the way, wheres my refund, and direct deposit, never works with adoption credits.

  58. Avatar Dave says:

    Cass, its been 6 months, so congrats!

  59. Avatar cass says:

    @dave and dawn thank you @dave yes indeed it was exactly 6months getting a T A really helps a lot so happy i can take my kids to disney world and i just adopted my little son he is 9 years old had him since he was 3 so disney world would be a really nice treat and goodluck to those that are still waiting and i got check they didnt deposit.

  60. Avatar Dave says:

    TA called said they can request the credit to be processed but it can then be thrown into review.

  61. Avatar Dave says:

    By the way I contacted my congressperson today and they are acting as a TA. The more someone in authority sees this crime the better. Yeah I call it a crime for the IRS to b in such a position. Also cass, did they include any kind of interest?

  62. Avatar patience says:

    Update… well i Finally got my one and only letter in this ordeal and it says they approved the refund. I called for payment date and they said it was being sent on Sept 10th. OMGosh what a HUGE waiting period, especially without any news. This process took about 20 weeks. good news it is on its way.. and soon the “check will be in the mail”. 🙂

  63. Avatar Dave says:

    Easten time is 651am

  64. Avatar Dave says:

    15 weeks in just a few dys and nothing. I talked to someone who said everything is ok and just waiting to be completed and they are very busy(backlogged. After a few questions, I was referred to a TA and TA should be contacting me in a week. Another week, another month, another year. Oh well.

  65. Avatar Dave says:

    Dont forget to let us know when you actually get it, would be nice to hear someone was actually successful.

  66. Avatar Dave says:

    I have found the commonality in all this. First, let me say that we should not look at this in weeks, but months. If the IRS gets all your stuff on March 1st, then if correct, in all probability, you will see a return in Sept. So 6 months is the wait time, not 12 weeks, 14 or 18 weeks.

  67. Avatar cass says:

    thank you dawn just got letter from irs cnfirmoimng refund and the letter says 6-8 weeks do anyone know how lond it takes after the letter staes 6-8 weeks my ta said she should have a date on 29th

  68. Avatar Dave says:

    It is true then that the IRS web site is very deceiving. To say 8-12 weeks leads one to operate in that deception. Furthermore, when we call the IRS seems they lead you on further by saying something like:WOW, its been that long, well call back in two weeks and we will try to contact the employee working on it, and see whats going on. Leaving one to think that it must be close. When in fact 6 months is the true wait time. Now, prove me wrong!!

  69. Avatar cass says:

    good news my ta called me and said they approve tax refund and they should post it to my account tues or thursday and then she will have a date for me thanks to ta she really looks into the matter and get it done so im just witing for her to call with date should be really soon.

  70. Avatar patience says:

    still have not received Nothing, no letter, no refund,no nothing. They received it April 13th. 2012. They keep saying they are working on it,and it is in review and they will let me know. WOW! really??? geesh! they wondering why i keep calling every week… because i dont hear anything from them and we are going on 17 weeks now. Hope this all works out…dont understand WHY it takes SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO long. They want their money ASAP. by a certain due date, should make it for the adoption credit and all other credits that the IRS pays.. a certain amount of time. 12 weeks TOP and then refund due within 10 days. i think that is fair… 🙂

  71. Avatar cass says:

    hello everyone just a updated they are mailing my check oof today aug31 so will be getting it soon <3

  72. Avatar cass says:

    i talk to ta and she said they were missing one of my kids info and i know i sent in everything i had a cpa do my ammended so i had fax papers over again so now waiting for ta i give me updated . if everything is together how are they losing eveything i think its just another excuse to stall even more.

  73. Avatar Dave says:

    Cass, be sure to put a chunk in a savings of some sort, and enjoy the rest, although I know it goes quick!
    Thanks for being part of the forum!

  74. Avatar Dave says:

    your conclusion is great in theory, hope it happens. Another call yielded it can take another 3 weeks, and at that point we can call back. Seems every thing is completed, but it is not available yet. What does that mean…who knows?

  75. Avatar Dave says:

    OK where is this post being posted. It is August 3, and it is 8:21 Eastern time.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      We’re on Eastern Time too. It doesn’t always get posted immediately since we have to manually approve each post and we don’t check constantly.

  76. Avatar Dave says:

    Now it will 13 weeks in just a few days, and last time i talked to the irs, they said in a few weeks i can call back and they will question the person working on it. I called a few days ago and this person said they are required to inform me it could be another 30 days before I hear anything. So far the only thing Ive heard is when I called. Are we supposed to get a letter or some official notice of what the plan is going to be, or do we just wait it out and hopefully something will happen within say a year.

  77. Avatar Dave says:

    The interesting thing thing here, I had no idea about the credit until I went to the tax person, so this is a plus. We adopted our first one initially taking him in for a few weeks. We decided on the first day what we wanted to do. We then a year later adopted his bro. Both came from the state.

  78. Avatar Jen says:

    Received call from my tax advocate and our audit is finished. We will receive full amount for 2 children! They do nit have a deposit date for us yet, but hoping it will be soon. I will update when we receive it for those who are trying to get an idea of timelines. Let’s keep it positive her, no one that I know has adopted for any other reason than to grow their families. This is hard for all those who wait.

  79. Avatar Jen says:

    Just to give a conclusion to my refund story, we are getting our full refund plus interest this Friday! From start to finish, our tax advocate took our case and completed it in 3 weeks and refund is coming 1 week later. I was told it will be mailed, but I keep hearing conflicting stories that it could be direct deposited. Either way, I am so grateful for this website for all the information. I can’t even put into words how helpful this information has been.

  80. Avatar cass says:

    i have talk to my advocate she said everthing is in my file i need and she will be getting back to me real soon she couldnt understand why they were taking so long to even send me a letter.@nicole j im not understanding your post we are all on here to support each other not talk bad or negetive we all have been bless to adopt wonderful precious kids and there nothing wrong with wanting this money for vacation or etc im a christian woman and i have faith in God he blessed me with two wonderful kids so please keep the negetivity off here if anything as a faithful worker for God its our duty to pray for one another.

  81. Avatar Jen says:

    Dave, respectfully I have to disagree with your last sentence in post #662. we entered our adoption (a quick international older child adoption) knowing we would qualify for the ATC. It was made into law, there was no reason to think we would wait this long without a reasonable timeline of receiving these funds. Our finances in general as well as my choice to stay home with our chidren for this summer were in anticipation of this refund. Low income individuals who receive more back than they ever paid in taxes are not audited the way we have been. We fulfilled our obligation as tax payers and I would think the IRS would have a better plan this year than they did last year. I am hoping our tax advocate has good news for us this week. I wish you well.

  82. Avatar Dave says:

    I last was told to give it 2 more weeks, then they can question the employee handling the case, but not before then. It takes patience, fortitude, and not jumping the gun here, just keep your paperwork in a safe place, dont spend anything in advance, and remember, GOOD things come to those who wait, so faith is important! The IRS will not send out a check in a few weeks, or months, but look forward to a very long wait, and thank God you are not in a long line at a building, you’d starve to death before they got around to you. The IRS is not a money handout place, and the government doesnt rule our lives and is not the answer to our financial woes(they(we) are in debt), it was never intended to be.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Dave, I loved your reminder: ” [K]eep your paperwork in a safe place, dont spend anything in advance, and … thank God you are not in a long line at a building… .”

  83. Avatar Patience says:

    UPdate again::::: I’am getting very frustrated now… I called again. WOW what a run around! now they are telling me it is in with the examiner and they still have until sept 7th??? WHAT THE HECK!! they told me it was closed july 10th. then they say it was in THAT dept. now it is with the “other” dept… and to give them more time! The most frustrating thing is… I have not recieved a letter or anything.. so all i have, is to keep calling! why all the different dates of it is closed, 8-12 weeks, plus a additonal 4 weeks, a additional 6 weeks, 8 weeks.. this is ridiculous!. my name is not suiting me right now.. Patience….

  84. Avatar Dave says:

    I call them once a week to hear them say its still in process it could take 14 or more weeks. Seems a never ending black hole and the advocate place seems to think by the time they get in place, i will have a check, so might as well dig in for the long haul.

  85. Avatar cass says:

    i callled today again to check on refund they said that its being review i sent hem off april 2 2012 she said if i dont hear anything or letter by july 28 then call and she made it clear to me not to call until after 28 this is crazy i havent got any letters or anything wow

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Cass, so sorry this is happening to you. Take heart by reading the previous comments that most people eventually get their adoption tax credit with interest.

  86. Avatar cass says:

    thanks dawn thats the good thing about the waiting its the interest.

  87. Avatar Jen says:


    I was told that from the date the examiner receives your file, they have 90-100 days to complete the audit. We got a tax advocate as this wait is causing financial hardship to us. I sent mine off the same day you did and the xaminer got our case June 23rd.

  88. Avatar cass says:

    @jen by getting tax advocate and ststing hardship did you get more answers on whats going on with the taxes when i called tax advocate he directed me back to that main line he wasnt no help.

  89. Avatar Patience says:

    UPDATE:: the case was closed, now it is reopened. I did not get a letter or anything.until they called me.. The IRS said amended returns with the tax credit, Must ALLOW 14 weeks for processing. not the standard 8-12. our 14 weeks wont be up until the 27th of july according to their calculations. she said we should recieve something by then. which doesnt make any sense if it was closed and then a “portion” of it is reopened. and if we dont hear anything by the 27th THEN call back. my referral got denied because it wasnt the 14 weeks allowable for processing.

  90. Avatar nicole j says:

    this site is THE BEST even if im still waiting:)

  91. Avatar nicole j says:

    has anyone received there ammen?de returns within the 45 day letter

  92. Avatar cass says:


    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Cass, many people have received their credit via direct deposit. It is the tax form itself that must be submitted in paper form rather than electronically since you have to include all the documentation.

  93. Avatar Patience says:

    UPDATE:::: well i called again this afternoon, and the lady at the IRS said it closed yesterday the 9th. but no other information was available for at least another week or so. I asked about any letters or anything being sent as i did not recieve one and i keep hearing of people getting one. she said nothing was sent to us during the process. so i’am not sure how to take that or the new info of it being closed? anyone know what that mean?? bad or good? I keep getting different opinions on the refund being direct deposit or paper check. and what is this about interest???

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      The adoption tax credit refund can be direct deposited. Yes, the IRS can pay interest. I believe they pay it if the delay was “their fault”.

  94. Avatar Jen says:

    I sent an amended tax return for the adoption tax credit over 3 months ago. Just spoke with IRS yesterday and it was sent to an examiner June 23rd. I was told to give them 90 days to process this. Does this sound reasonable? That would give them until September 23rd which would make total time from sending it almost 6 months. I asked if they would expedite due to financial hardship and she opened a case with us with an advocate. I would love to hear others experience with an amended tax return when you sent all required documentation. Thanks for this website!

  95. Avatar Patience says:

    I thought the adoption refunds could only be paper checks?? My cpa did a amended tax return for 2010 to only add the adoption of my 2 boys that were family but were in the foster care system and was special needs. I mailed the amended returns and all the approp documents including subsidy agreements, adoption decree’s ETC.. and they were accepted by the IRS on April 18th.2012 and i’m still waiting. i have not gotten a letter or a response, nothing. i started calling a couple weeks ago and they tell me it is still being processed…. i asked if there was any problems and they replied, no.. i’am in the 12th week now and getting very frustrated!!! we wanna go to DISNEYLAND!! lol.. none of us have ever gone, and i thought what a better way to celebrate,with a little of the refund, of course after paying some bills and new uniforms for school for my kids. but we wanna go int he summer and now i’m getting worried… i do want to go while they are out for the summer. 🙁 so my question is… do they direct deposit amended adoption refunds? and what is the average time people are seeing their refunds??? thanks.. i’m glad i stumbled on this website. 🙂 have a great day!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Patience, if you signed up for direct deposit, the IRS will do that for the Adoption Tax Credit. I’m a little surprised that you have received something from them since it has been 12 weeks. Usually you would have received a letter from the IRS.

  96. Avatar cass says:

    hello im reading post on here about adption credit refund i sent all my info out end of march they are saying that they are reviewing my case and its been assigned to another worker i havent even got and notice in mail you guys talk about tax advocate how do i go about getting one for my case

  97. Avatar Patience says:

    Hello everyone.. a little update. i was very curious about the direct deposit and paper refund questions and answers. So here is what the IRS said to me today.::::
    Current year taxes and adoption credits can recieve the direct deposits. Amended taxes for years previous can ONLY recieve a paper refund. so i hope this helps someone like it did me. anyone know how long it takes to get a paper refund once your case is closed??? thanks 🙂 have a great day

  98. Avatar Jen says:

    Dawn, we have not gotten the tax advocate. The IRS rep on the phone opened a case for us and told us to wait 7 days for a phone call from an advocate. If we don’t hear within 7 days, she gave us a 877 number to call. Is there any difference in how amended cases are handled, or should I still expect the dreaded letter to re-submit all receipts? How does having a tax advocate help the process along?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      A tax advocate is available if the delay in causing undue financial hardship. There seems to be a great deal of leeway in interpreting what constitutes financial hardship. They act like grease–intervening on your behalf with the bureaucracy. I don’t know if amended taxes are handled differently.

  99. Avatar Sara says:

    update received full atc + interest by direct deposit on 6/27/12 yay!

  100. Avatar Dave says:

    We too adopted 2 in 2011. Sent out amended return and 8839 by itself and have been told “In Process” and it could take 8 to how ever many weeks to file. The IRS received on May 7. So it’s been about 10 weeks.

  101. Avatar cass says:

    i was told someone wasworking on my taxes and i will just have to wait he said its taking much longer because of large refund . theyy are not giving out much info my friend received her check 8 weeks she got letter and then check followed

  102. Avatar Jen says:

    Just an update to post #641. I got an advocate and faxed all documentation yesterday. I was told that I would get a follow up call in 3 weeks to discuss the status or sooner if the case is closed before then. I was impressed by the compassion of this person.

  103. Avatar cass says:

    as im typing im speaking to tax advocate she looking through my files she cant believe i havent even got a letter they had my taxes since april 2 will keep you guys updated @ dawn thank you for your posts been very helpful.

  104. Avatar Jen says:

    Cass, my tax advocate was able to explain in detail where my taxes were currently and how soon (or not) the audit would be completed without them. now, with an advocate they estimate 3 weeks and they will have an answer from the examiner (if they need more time or if my refund will be released). My advocate has been wonderful, even called after I faxed the documents to let me know all pages came through. Please update here, I will also in hopes it helps someone else.

  105. Avatar JJ says:

    Thank you Dawn and thank you for having this wonderful site!

  106. Avatar JJ says:

    I am very happy for those of you that have had a positive outcome with your refunds. After being threatened with possible enormous penalties and interest charges, I have signed a waiver giving up my rights to my refund and they will give me just over $3000 for the adoption credit (2 children). I was told by an IRS auditor that the IRS does not want to give the amount of interest they would have to and are doing all they can to avoid the interest payments. Another auditor verified that my auditor never even evaluated all of my receipts so how did she come up with this offer? Fortunately for those of you that adopted through the state, the IRS cannot threaten you so you will eventually get your full refund. I am so frustrated and sad that auditors have so much power and are not held accountable to anyone. When I asked one of the representatives why is the IRS still holding my basic part of my refund after more than 4 months, he said and I quote, “because they can.” I thank God for my two beautiful boys and can not let this IRS mess eat away at me anymore. Thank you all for letting me vent!! God Bless you and your families:)

  107. Avatar Kara says:

    just wanted to update from post 570. Talked to a lady at the IRS. She informed me that our case closed in our favor on Friday, June 8. She said it would take any where from 2 to 4 weeks to receive our money. I will update once again she the ATC actually is DD into my bank account.

  108. Avatar Sara says:

    Yay! finally talked to my tax advocate on Friday. She said the adoption tax credit had been approved and we should receive our $ in the next 2 weeks, although she was unable to give me a specific date. She stated we will be receiving interest but I am curious if anyone knows how that works if it is interest based monthly or if it is interest based on the whole amount 1x and what the interest rate is? Thanks everyone this has been a great resource and venting page and I really have appreciated being able to come here to find some answers. for those of you who are still waiting to find out about your taxes don’t give up! Sending good thoughts your way 🙂

  109. Avatar Sara says:

    Just a little update. our return was accepted by IRS on June 4th, and our tax advocate called us and let us know funds would be released. Still waiting 🙁 but she did say we would receive close to $200 in interest

  110. Avatar cass says:

    @jen thanks for info now i have to wait 7 days for advocate to call me back i though i was speaing to the advocate i guess not she has to put me through another person .

  111. Avatar Sara says:

    So I sent in my tax return it was received by the IRS on February 2nd. I still have yet to receive my refund. My tax advocate is located in Georgia which is a 6 hr time difference than our time here in Hawaii. My tax advocate has all my paperwork. my case is still being reviewed 6 weeks after i was assigned a tax advocate 🙁 and she says it will be at least another 2 weeks before she hears back from the IRS on the status of my account and only if everything goes well it may take another 3 weeks for my money to be deposited into my acct. that will put me at 11 weeks since I started working with my advocate and around 5 months since the IRS initially received my return. This is not fair to all of us who have adopted children and need the $$ I wish there was a way to hold the IRS responsible for getting these returns out in a timely manner.

  112. Avatar Shay says:


  113. Avatar Jorge says:

    Here is my story, which I hope is encouragement to many: Adopted 3 special needs children (in GA), finalized last half of 2011. Mailed tax return late February, unaware of problems everyone was having.
    My return is complicated regardless of adoption–about 50 pages, including corporate income, personal business income, etc. To make matters worse, we had losses to claim for 2011, so I was already worried about audit.
    Watched the Where’s My Refund site and it soon showed a date of April 17. As that date came near, it changed to April 24.
    I started researching, found this site and others, and got really worried about when/if I would get my refund, which not only was big because of 3 adoptions, but aside from that included our biggest refund to date because of business losses and addition of 3 children.
    On April 24, I got the ‘being processed’ message that everyone else gets, but I did not get any letter from IRS, so I contacted them. All they said is that I should be getting a letter ‘soon’.
    I contacted Tax Advocate on their web site, my congressman, and alerted other congressmen to the delays. By this time I received a letter from IRS saying I needed to wait 45 days for processing. The Tax Advocate called me a few days later and said I had to wait the 45 days before she could do anything. Got a letter from congressman saying same thing, and that he would ‘follow up’.
    I was REALLY worried at this point because of how complicated my return was, and the bad stories of people having to wait up to a year for 2010 adoption filings.
    However, I checked my bank account today for other reasons (only about 40 days in 45 day period), and there is a pending transaction for the full amount I claimed. I am still in shock but wanted to share good news to all.
    I don’t think Tax Advocate or congressman helped, but who can say? Seems like just waiting was what it took. I did not use CPA, but do all taxes myself with help of TurboTax online and TurboTax Business.
    I give thanks to God for helping us through this situation, and I wish you all blessings in getting your money in timely fashion.

  114. Avatar Shay says:


  115. Avatar sherry says:

    I was wondering has anyone sent their ammended ATC in & got them back yet ? I sent my ATC paper work off on 2-9-12 . I haven’t received a letter or notice about nothing . I am still waiting !

  116. Avatar temeka says:


    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Temeka, I don’t really know, but I think you might have a better chance working with your creditor/landlord and explaining that you have the check coming on June 1st. The problem seems to me that you might well be in this same situation at the end of the next month. Is there some type of organization near you that helps people develop a workable budget or help with getting a job (you may already have a job, so this may not be necessary).

  117. Avatar pamela says:

    It is my understanding the qualifcations for special needs is to have been in the foster care system. Also their is an agreement that is signed by the county and yourself regarding your subsidy. The higher amount paid per day usually the higher the needs are for the child. I personelly have never read anything regarding race as being special needs. Hope you get it all resolved for your tax credit #593

  118. Avatar Kevin S says:

    My wife and I adopted to black twins domestically in Florida, and are claiming both boys under special needs. One of Florida definition of special needs is any black or bi-racial child, or siblings, or a child adopted older than 8. After delay, after delay we received a letter from the tax examiner disallowing our tax credit. I finally was able to speak to the examiner…She stated, she does not care what the state of Florida states they are special needs if the kids are black, because she’s black and she’s not a special need. Very stressful situation. We are waiting to hear back from the adovact and we plan on filing an appeal. We went from having a 26k tax credit to now oweing the IRS almost 6k. Can anyone give any suggestions or advice?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Kevin, we have addressed extensively on our radio shows what is considered as a Special Need Adoption for the Adoption Tax Credit.
      **The Feb 29, 2012 Creating a Family show: The Refundable Adoption Tax Credit for 2011 and 2012 Taxes
      **The Dec 14, 2011 Creating a Family show: Adoption Tax Credit for 2011 and 2012

      In short, altho I am not a tax expert, to qualify for SN Adoption Tax Credit your child must have been adopted from foster care and be receiving a monthly subsidy. This subsidy agreement must be submitted as proof of special need. Domestic adoptions not from foster care and international adoptions do not qualify. At least this is my understanding.

  119. Avatar SHAE says:


  120. Avatar Shay says:

    Is it normal for the IRS to send a notice out when the case is close or I would have to keep checking the WMR?

  121. Avatar temeka says:

    what day of the week do the irs mails out checks

  122. Avatar pamela says:

    thank-you Jennifer#588 for the update on the posting of review..doesnt do much good without the updates being posted…apparently.

  123. Avatar pamela says: i got confirmation that irs recieved my fax on may 10th..i was told i would be notified from irs in the next 45 days..called a day later talked with irs and was told they are working on my case now and i should be getting a informal letter within the next 30 in one day according to irs i cut 15 days makes me want to call again today maybe i will shave another 15 days off..wouldnt that be something. and what is this informal letter in 30 days mean? they have recieved all of my information regarding adoption (special needs)..anybody recieved a letter after they have recieved the documentation?

  124. Avatar temeka says:

    yes I got a letter saying my case was closed on may 7 and still have not got my check.

  125. Avatar SHAE says:


  126. Avatar Jennifer says:

    #555-Received the direct deposit today, however the WMR site has not ever updated. It still says we are under review, so I would not rely on that. My best advise would be to call the number on your letter and hope to get a nice person that will take care of it for you. I did not wait the 45 days before calling. Good luck to all!

  127. Avatar temeka says:

    well can someone tell me what e freeze is our adoption tax credit was approve on may 7 2012 ta is no help everytime she calls she always says that they don’t have a check date I have called the irs and they are telling me to contact tax advocate I am having such a hardship my water is off my house is in repossion and it like she don’t even care can you tell where I can get some help I have called everyday but it is the same thing ta will not return my call. I am afraid if things go far we will lose everything and my lights are sch to be cut off on friday can someone please tell me what to do ta stated that the check is suppose to go out on 05/25/12 but she said that last week too and nothing.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Temeka, I’m so sorry you are having such problems. I can’t offer you much advice, other than wait until May 25 as your Tax Advocate is telling you. Can you negotiate with your bill collectors? Hang in there!

  128. Avatar pamela says:

    it is great to have the support of this website nice to know their are so many with the same irs time line…my story is the same first letter wait 45 days dont need any information from you…second letter need more information…faxed same day..and mailed them too…just in case..called 2 days later got confirmation the faxed was recieved and told i would hear something in the next 45 days…have a sister who adopted from same special needs family and recieved hers within 30 days no questions asked…and sent her return a month after i did..amazing how random some are under review..and others get their returns..crazy! i am being patient, it is something i know i need to work on however it would be nice to not have it on my brain daily…just waiting..and waiting.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Pamela, best we can tell, and we’ve tried to discern a pattern, is that it is completely random who gets selected for audit. It looks like the percentage will be similar to last year-about 60-70% will be audited.

  129. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    @Tameka and Shay: our check was released on a Wed., but my sisters was a Thursday and my oldest daughters was a Fri, so I think they must release all week long. Shay – They closed our case on Monday May 7th and deposited our money on May 15th. We never received a notice via mail.

  130. Avatar Shay says:

    THANKS RENEE… CONGRAT!!!! Enjoy it all….

  131. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    If the TA tells you that you do not qualify PLEASE fax the form in. I also was told no hardship so I faxed my request in and had a call the very next morning…I will continue to pray for you all to receive your refund and for someone in our government to step up to the plate and handle this mess…

  132. Avatar Shay says:

    Thank Dawn…@ Renee Im a also happy things r working in UR favor…

  133. Avatar elisa says:

    Same thing with us. Filed end of January and they accepted it Feb. 6th. Got a letter stating it was in review and have to wait 45 days until we contact them. I can call again Thursday. I have called several times but they keep telling me to wait until the 45 days. Tax advocate said we can only get help if we have a serious financial problem, which is all relative I guess. We really need this money to get caught up on bills, get new tires, etc. Praying it will come soon. Praying, praying, praying!

  134. Avatar ak says:

    So if our ta said she gave a deadline of today should I expect the wmr or online status to change today if it’s going ahead?

  135. Avatar JJ says:

    PJ, I signed your petition, I’m also asking everyone I know to sign-we need lots of signatures:)

    Today the wmr site says We have received your tax return and it is being reviewed. For more information, please continue. Please read the following information related to your tax situation: Tax Topic 151, Your Appeal Rights

    Then it says Please mention reference number 1241 to the IRS Customer Service Representative.

    Has anyone else received this? I can’t figure out what this mean!


  136. Avatar CC says:

    Well the WMR finally updated on 4/13/12 and it said that my return is being reviewed and I will be receiving a letter requesting more information and to send it in within 30 days. Well I received that letter two weeks ago and my advocate scanned them everything and they said my case was closed on 4/10/12 in my favor and it takes two weeks to process. I am hoping that the WMR is just updating slowly and this means that they are processing my check because I have not received any further letters from them and shouldnt. This is just all too stressful. Freaky Friday the 13th…uuugghhh!!!!!

  137. Avatar JJ says:

    For many weeks the wmr site said April 10 dd, now it says, “Your tax return has been received and is being processed.” Could this possibly be a good thing or just another delay message? Also, how would I know if they accepted my expenses or not? thank you:)

    I have learned (after the fact) that I could have received help in adopting my grandchildren through the state of Florida, I hope other grandparents can learn this information so they may get assistance.

  138. Avatar Anonymous says:

    WMR site has said April 10 for weeks, today it says, “Your tax return has been received and is being processed. ” What does this mean? I have been waiting forever for the audit to get done! Should I be excited or is this just another delay message? Also, how can I find out if they are processing it for the full amount or refused my expenses? Thank you:)

  139. Avatar Steven Rush says:

    We sent our return in by mail on Jan. 18th. We sent all adoption and subsidy paperwork in with the return. We recieved a letter on march 12th that our return is being reviewed. No further documentation was needed. The return cleared was released for deposit on april 5th. It is april 13th now. Still no update on WMR site. Waiting is not fun lol. Irs is saying it will be another 2-4 weeks before the computer system will schedule a deposit. Is it standard that it takes that long after being released from review?

  140. Avatar Chris Carr says:

    Proposing…not posing.

  141. Avatar Chris Carr says:

    Hello all. Though we’re still waiting for our ATC, we had the chance to meet with Bruce Braley yesterday and discuss the importance of renewing this legislation. He is posing to make it permanent and permanently refundable! So check out his site ( and contact your local Congressman and ask for his/her support.
    FYI, though Braley is not my Representatvie, I have contacted Rep. Bobby Schilling (my rep.) to ask for his support. I also asked his office to contact the IRS about the unacceptably lengthy delay in receiving my ATC. We’ll see what happens.

    Please contact your congressman and ask the same of your families and friends!


  142. Avatar Anonymous says:

    We sent our return in on Feb 1st. It took about a month to show up on WMR. The first date was 04/20, the next day it changed to 03/27, about 1 week later it changed to 05/01, about 1 week later it changed to 04/10. On 04/10 it changed to no info. I got a review letter in the mail that same day that had a notice date of 04/16 and says to wait 45 days. On 04/11 WMR changed to received and processing. I am really frustrated about all of this. We are used to getting our refund within the first 2 weeks of Feb. and did not plan for this unexpected delay. The adoption credit will help our family financially, but I really need the regular portion of my refund. The IRS is causing a financial hardship to my family, and I am sure this was not the intention of this credit that was granted to families who chose to adopt children with special needs.

  143. Avatar CC says:

    Susan I would call back again….I had no problem getting an advocate and never had to prove what I told her even though it was the truth. I think its the luck of the draw with who answers the phone and who you are assigned to and it shouldnt be that way. Tell them you mailed it in January if you did, because if they received it on 2/17/12 that doesnt mean that was the date they enetered it into the computer. The lady tried to deny me at first that answered the phone but I just started sounding sad and just kept talking and she was like ok. Hopefully you end up getting someone else that will help you…

  144. Avatar Ryan Maher says:

    We sent our return in on Feb 5th but according to the IRS they didn’t recieve until March 7th. It was assigned a date of on or before April 10th. On April 9th we received the review letter. The best part is that it is a general review so they are holding the whole refund not just the adoption credit portion. Get to wait another 45 days before hearing back.

  145. Avatar CC says:

    JJ the WMR said the same thing to me about being in review and that they was sending me a letter, which they already did weeks before, and it had the reference to the Tax Topic 151 but not the reference #1241….never seen that before…..that WMR just confuses us and the customer service for the IRS doesnt have updated info either because they told my case was still open when the examiner and my advocate both said it was closed in my favor and being processed…

  146. Avatar PJ says:

    Once your case is closed it does not take as long as they tell you it will take. WMR was correct within a few days after our case was closed saying we would get refund DD… 4-11 and we did.

  147. Avatar PJ says:

    Oh yes JJ- Please sign the petition.

    We got our DD on April 11th.

    Mailed return to Kansas City, Mo end on January

    March 1st our return arrived in Philadelphia, PA for review.

    March 10th we got 1st letter saying do nothing.

    March 20th we got 2nd letter saying send in everything again…I faxed everything that same day.

    March 28th we got a TA.

    April 2nd they closed our case in our favor.

    April 11th we got the DD.

    I really hope the process speeds up for everyone still awaiting their tax refunds.

  148. Avatar Chris B. says:

    Hello all. Let me start by saying… WOW. What a nightmare. I too am an adoptive parent of two special little girls. One adoption was complete in 2009. We amended our 2009 and 2010 taxes last year and received the refund after about 4 months. This year we filed for the credit of our second daughter (adoption in 2011) on the 1st of March. Same letter and WMR really annoying. Trying to be patient, but the lack of progress I have seen on all the posts here is discouraging. I haven’t called an advocate because I won’t qualify for assistance (no hardship)and I can’t call a North Carolina Rep because I am not a resident (I’m active duty Air Force) and if you can’t vote for them they won’t help you. So… I will patiently sit here and wait and enjoy all the success you all are having and wish for the best for the ones who are waiting as I am. Good luck to all and God bless this great country!

  149. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Melinda – I am a dork and was seeing what I wanted to see instead of what you actually put! I was thinking SS#’s and you obviously meant post #’s. I am so sorry…but I had to chuckle a bit at my incredible stupidity…
    I have faxed EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING to our advocate and am awaiting a response…46 pages worth of proof. Now lets see what they have to say as I sent her EXACTLY what I sent them…

    Please please see PJ’s link above and lets help change the future for all adoptive families by sending a message to the IRS via the petition!!

  150. Avatar CC says:

    Melinda I asked my advocate about the interest and she said if my return wasnt back to me by June then they would have owed me interest. They pay interest to the ones who ATC is still being upheld that filed for it awhile ago. Another misinformation given to me by the IRS. I hope it does come sooner than later. I checked the WMR and it still says the same thing it has been saying for a month now. I will have it by 4/17/12 I hope this is true. My advocate did say that they have a new system now so the returns are being processed sooner. Crossing my fingers….

  151. Avatar Kara says:

    My origianl post is 385…. well we did receive our later on March 31 that was postdated to April 5 that stated our taxes were under review and that nothing was being required of us at this time and that it would take up to 45 days to finish the review. I decided to call the IRS for the first time today. The gentleman was quite nice. He informed me that the letter was a standard letter issued of all returns that were being reviewed. I asked why it took 45 days to review my tax information. He said that letter is sent along with several other out and that the person reviewing has 45 days to review all of those and that it could take less time depending where mine is in the stack. We did also receive our portion that was not our ATC. I’m glad to see some are receiving the ATC. I hope that the system is speeding up some what. Will keep everyone updated. Thanks.

  152. Avatar Susan says:

    How are you all getting through with a tax advocate case number? I have called 3 times and explained the urgency of needing a TA but each time I have been denied and told I need to give the IRS the 60 days indicdated on the letter before calling back. We adopted our 2 special needs boys via fostercare in April 2011. Our taxes were received on 2/17/12, we received a letter dated 3/30/12 not requesting any additional information. The WMR date continues to say 4/17/12. I have contacted the IRS several times just to follow up on the status of our refund and received the same answers which is that our return is on hold and we will either receive our refund or hear back from the IRS by 60 days. We are a one income home and like all of you, we could really use this refund to help pay our bills. I suppose we just have to keep waiting. Any suggestions are welcomed..

  153. Avatar temeka says:

    what do moderation means

  154. Avatar temeka says:

    has anyone received their amendment return for 2011 adoption tax credit if so how long did it take

  155. Avatar temeka says:

    how do you joined this group

  156. Avatar Harold says:

    We just received a call from our TA today and she said they are going to release our whole ARC and we should get it by May the 4th. So keep your hopes up everyone. It will all work out in the end. Good luck all.

  157. Avatar melinda says:



  158. Avatar anonymous says:

    @ Dawn let’s hope that’s the case because we are going on vacation and hope it all happens before then!

  159. Avatar CC says:

    hello…i received my portion of the return and they are sending my ATC on 4/27/12…my tax advocate closed my case…so happy!!!

  160. Avatar Anonymous says:

    just spoke with a helpful person at irs. No letters are scheduled to go out to us and ouor 45 days letter is up friday. There are making sure nothing is owed from previous years ( WE KNOW NOTHING IS)and hopefully we get some good news friday. Also we got assigned a case # and should hear from an advocate by May 2. From when an advocate is assigned to getting your money released how long does that generally take?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Anonymous, that totally depends on what the advocate finds, why the IRS is reviewing, what they are finding, etc. In your case it sounds like there is nothing to hold it up,and in those cases,weare hearing that the checks are being deposited or sent withing a few weeks.

  161. Avatar melinda says:

    annonomous- ours said that for about 3 weeks. don’t know if it meant anything or not. who know’s.

    steven. the irs told me the same thing, 2-4 weeks to get the funds deposited. after they closed we had it the following week. so you might not have to wait that long.
    for us the wmr date was correct. check that and see what it says.

    good luck to you all.

  162. Avatar sherry says:

    I call for TA on 4-11-12 & the advocate called back on 4-16-12 to here my case then she said she did’nt need any info from me ,she had got it already. The advocate said she was callin back on Monday 4-30-12. How long does it take to get your atc after you have talked with the advocate?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Sherry, how long it takes to get your refund with adoption tax credit after getting a tax advocate totally depends on what the advocate finds, why the IRS is reviewing, what they are finding, etc. An advocate can not do the audit or erase a problem. They can however cut through red tape and that is a huge help.

  163. Avatar Kara says:

    I am once again updating from my previous posts #385 and # 493…On Saturdy 4/14 we received an additional letter from the IRS requesting the additional information. I took everything straight to our tax preparer on Monday, 4/16. They put all requested documentation (offical decree of adoption with stamp, subsidy assistance form, and special needs form) with the cover sheet and wrote the social security numbers on each page and faxed them to the IRS….Hopefully this long drawn out process is coming to an end for us. I will update when anything changes. Thanks.

  164. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Update: I sent everything to my tax advocate last week. Yesterday she called me and requested that I send copies of our W-2’s, copies of our babygirls new ss cards, copies of the new birth certificates, and signed copies of our returns. (we signed the original when we sent it in but did not sign the copy we were given by H&R Block). She said she is working our return and will update asap. She is soooo nice and I really think she is working for us. There is hope folks. Just a note: We had NO luck calling the tax advocate but when I printed and faxed a request it took one day for them to accept our case and assign an advocate…

  165. Avatar kluv says:

    I also am very stressed out over this atc.I went to H&R block to do my 2001 taxes for them to tell me i didn’t qualify because of it being a relative adoption.So i just blew it off but it just kept bothering.So for my 2012 taxes i asked again about it and they kept me at there office for 2 hours looking in all there books to see why i didn’t qualify.H&R block made the mistake by telling me that cause they couldn’t find no then that said different.So they figured they wouldn’t charge me to prepare the 1040x amended.So i mailed out all paper work certified mail Jan.26th which they said they received the 30th.I called once a week starting march 12th for updates and just keep hearing its being processed.Finally by April 13th got got the sweetest lady who gave me more info then ive ever got,and she said it should of been done.So she helped me right over the phone fill out papers for an advocate.She said someone would contact me with in 5-7 business days.Well i finally got the call today from my advocate and he said they have all paper work they need and it would be 45 days,but he would be calling me back on may 4th hopefully with a date for me.This my first going through all this and i dont think i want to do it again just to stressful.

  166. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    CC – I looked up 1241 for you…

    1241 Paper return received more than 6 weeks ago; -E Freeze; in review, notice for additional information will be received IRM, -E Freeze

    I would call so you can find out what information they are requesting.

  167. Avatar Melonie says:

    I received a letter yesterday stating they have made changes to my 2011 form and I should have my refund within 2-3 weeks. When I go to the WMR website, their is no information posted. They post dated the letter April 30th. Is this a good or bad sign?

  168. Avatar CC says:

    Well folks the WMR is slowly updating again and I received this long drawn out explanation from it which included the reference ID number 1241. I was told to ingnore this message because my case is closed. I didnt choose direct deposit I chose to haver a paper check. They are releasing my portion of the return on 4/20/12 into the mail and my ATC will be done procesing on 4/24/12 and my advocate will be calling me on 4/25/12 to give me that release date. I guess the WMR is updating as my return is processing. They said my case is closed I was allowed the credit for each child I adopted and not to have any worries. The WMR can cause my stress so if you have an advocate talk to them because they I have the info first hand….I will keep you guys posted on when I get my money.

  169. Avatar Chad says:

    We got a tax advocate on Friday. Once again, paperwork we already sent was “lost.” Seriously??? They dealt with our tax guy today. WMR updated to say that we will get out refund on wednesday. Wow… that was quick.

    I would however encourage everyone to keep feeding information to your elected officials. Sen. Grassley’s office(Go Iowa) has been nothing but helpful but they need to know that this sort of silliness needs to end. If the IRS isn’t equipped to deal with these returns and with the fraud perpetrated by some then they need to get equipped.

  170. Avatar kluv says:

    update from#515.Well TA called and no then new he will call again next Fri. I still have no date in sight and i have been waiting since end of Jan.This is so irritating!

  171. Avatar Susan says:

    @James, if you contact Senator Grassley’s office ask to speak with Kay. She was the one who called the TA for us on Friday and on Monday the WMR had updated and our ATC was deposited today (Wednesday). Kay was awesome and was eager to help. her number is 563-323-7882. We are so very thankful and urge you all (along with @Renee Smith) to contact your state reps, our tax dollars pay for their salaries. Good luck and God Bless!

  172. Avatar JACKIE says:

    Hello everyone the IRS received my amended return on the 2-21-2012 and i was given a date today that my refund will be mailed to me.thank GOD my wait will be over soon and to all the rest that is still waiting do not give up your time is coming.

  173. Avatar Chad says:

    Finally, we got a tax advocate. It was only after we contacted our Senator and their office called that we got an advocate. Guess what, all the documentation that we sent needs to be resubmitted.

    I hate to say it but there’s been so many cases just like ours that this has to be more than a random pattern. Things should go quick now.

    I’m thankful for Senator Grassley’s office but I’m going to press them to ask questions as to why this silliness is so widespread.

  174. Avatar CC says:

    Thanks Renee for looking up the info…this adoption credit is so confusing but we are being educated. I think I am qualified now to prepare people’s taxes for the adoption credit, this website is wonderful and I have been telling other adoptive parents who are having issues about it. It feels good to know you are not alone and have a safe environment to vent. If it wasnt for this website I would not be receiving my money so soon, I would still be fighting for it and misled….Thanks Dawn!!!

  175. Avatar JJ says:

    Today I received a notice from the IRS auditor with a bill (penalty for inaccurate tax return) for almost $4000. She is not accepting my receipts-including financial statements from the attorney. I have sent in 175 pages and the only ones that she said she could read, she is not accepting. I give up, if the IRS needs the money so bad that they want to charge me for filing for a refund, they can keep my refund. I have spent more hours than I can count and money that I could not afford to keep sending them information. I hope all of you have better luck than I. At least I have my two beautiful boys:)

  176. Avatar ak says:

    if we have a tax advocate now should we not contact the irs directly and just wait on our advocate to respond?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      ak,in my opinion, if you are working with a tax advocate, you should wait and give the advocate time to work with the IRS auditors. They are your best bet for speeding up the process.

  177. Avatar Kara says:

    Hi All…Just wanted to give an update from my previous posts of #385, # 493, #512…We received a letter on May 04, stating they had received all the requested materials on April 17 and that they will have a decision made by June 30. Isn’t this longer than the 45 days that they are allowed to review…I counted and I shoud have a decision by June 02. I believe I have been extremely patient with the IRS. I have been waiting since February 6 for my refund. I submitted all documents with my original tax filing and then resubmitted when asked immediately. I does not take 5 minutes to review the documentation submitted to see all is in order. My patience is wearing thin at this point and I think I will request and TA on June 03. Glad to hear that others are now receiving their ATC.

  178. Avatar Ak says:

    @ Dawn regarding post 520 4-6 months from the date it was mailed or from the date they claim to receive it two weeks later, even though it was sent certified? Do we really have to wait until the 45 day letter runs out to get a tax advocate? Once a tax advocate agrees to take your case how long does that process generally take. It’s a simple return no write offs but two kids adopted, seriously how hard could the refund/ audit be. We just got their birth certificates right before we filed Feb 1 but we never changed their socials because we were waiting for this tax stuff to go through. Are they going to make us do that first. We want to change their number and not just their name on their social and that’s why we waited aside from the fact that we didn’t get the birth certificates until just before filing.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Ak, you can try for a tax advocate now, but I doubt you’ll be successful. They want to allow the normal timing to transpire before they get involved. Good luck.

  179. Avatar Susan says:

    Well 4/17/12 has come and gone and the WMR status was changed to “we have received your return and it is being processed” with no date in sight! I have called the TAS phone number twice this week and can’t seem to get passed the intake worker. I have called the IRS and our account hasn’t been touched since the 4464C letter was sent to us (dated 3/30/12) and possibly a 3rd party, although two different IRS workers reported that the letter was just sent to us. I am not sure what 3rd party they would send it to since we adopted via the state of Arizona. I called the superior court and state subsidy offices and both said they are unable to release that information and have not done so. I have asked if we could send our information again and was advised not to do so until/unless the IRS sends us another letter requesting more information. So we wait…until after May30th to either receive our return, receive a letter requesting more information or if neither of those two things occur, we qualify for a TA. Has anyone who has NOT used a TA received their ATC? We adopted our two boys via Arizona foster care system in April 2011, both boys are special needs due to being state adoptions. It should be easy peasy!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Susan, I know this won’t make you feel any better, but yes, some people have received their refund with their adoption tax credit. Usually these are the folks that were fortunate to escape the audit process. If this year follows last year, around 70% of the return claiming the adoption tax credit will be audited, and the vast majority of those will ultimately receive the full credit.

  180. Avatar Susan says:

    Great news!!! We contacted Senator Charles Grassley, our state senator and after signing a release for them to speak with the TAS, we were able to get an open case. Hooray!! Senator Grassley’s office contacted me today and explained that the TA needed us to resubmit all our information as well as complete a 1040X amended tax return form. Hopefully this will move things along quickly and we will get our full tax credit in a few weeks!!! CALL YOUR SENATOR, that is what our tax dollars pay for:) I will keep you posted. This was a very encouraging start to our weekend.

  181. Avatar Harold says:

    Well I was told that I should have my ARC by the 4th of may. Now AND is saying that they have received my taxes and it is being processed. What does that mean.

  182. Avatar Harold says:

    I have received a small part of our taxes, but the ATC is still being reviewed and my TA told me that they have till 4-30-12 to give her a answer. So i am hoping that we will get it in the next few weeks.

  183. Avatar james says:

    called them back finally hear something ill be getting another letter this one saying 60 days,

  184. Avatar Ak says:

    What does it mean when they say the amount of your refund has been reserved when you call in and inquire about the status. When we called and got someone from the office they said it was within our 45 days and we couldn’t call yet, but that it meant the money was set aside by them but they aren’t saying yet whether it is approved or not.Anyone else have this experience or info on how long it takes from here. Our 45 day letter is up beginning of May and we haven’t heard anything else yet

  185. Avatar JJ says:

    I am really bothered by how many people are in the same situation as myself with the IRS and their audit process. I contacted a TA on 3/7 and this is May and I still have not received my basic refund. I contacted Senator Rubio for assistance/advice and I received a letter to “give the IRS another 45 days” and to call his office if I did not have resolution. I waited and then called his office 3 times and no return phone call. My question is are the IRS employees held accountable to anyone? Do they not have policy and procedure? Is there nobody we can contact above the IRS auditors for assistance? I don’t understand because I am a Federal employee and under strict accountability and if I treated even one person like the IRS is treating us I would be immediately fired.

  186. Avatar sherry says:

    Today the TA calld & said she is just waiting on them to put it in the computer . So does this means that I will be receiving My refund soon?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      I suspect she means that the initial data from your return is being entered so it is probably too early to say whether you’ll receive the credit soon. Sorry to be the bearer of not-so-cheerful news.

  187. Avatar james says:

    sent my return in Jan, wheres my refund said i would get it back on Feb 28, this day came and went called IRS and they said call back next week next they said call in 2 weeks got my letter saying wait 45 days dated march 19 yeah im in review, not heard a word, they did not ask for anything today is 45 days and so i called and all i got was you have to wait the full 45 days, yep i can call tomorrow, this is so out to lunch, next year maybe we should all hold our tax money and tell them it is under review for 12 weeks or more wait they have laws and interest they would charge us. in this day and age this is so wrong in the time they are taking i could have gotten in my car and drove there with anything they needed and showed them my two kids…..sorry just needed to vent

  188. Avatar james says:

    wrote Senator Grassley’s office today and Congressman Tom Latham office on the 4th. I just really think its time we get answers after all i guess i have 60 days to write letters

  189. Avatar JJ says:

    I received great news yesterday! I had a message from Senator Rubio’s office (contacted their office for help approximately 3/10) and the caseworker assigned said he had called the IRS on May 2, got me a new TA and she is actually working on my case and going to review my submitted paper work (submitted 3 times!!) and try to help me get my refund!!! (In another 45 days or so-that’s their most common comment). So I guess perhaps I was inpatient? I did file 2/8! I really hope that I am not experiencing premature happiness only to be disappointed in the end. But I feel so much better now that I actually received a return phone call!! I hope everyone else here gets good news soon:)

  190. Avatar sherry says:

    @Dawn the IRS said it was entered on 2-21-12 , the TA was saying that it had went to Tenn.I ask the TA was it still in review & she said,We just waiting for IRS to enter it in the computer. I hope this explains why I ask the question in My last comment. Thanks for any info U can give Me !

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      I’m not sure, Sherry, I haven’t heard of that exact phrasing being used. Next time you speak with the Tax Advocate ask whether it is being entered for payment or entered for audit?

  191. Avatar ak says:

    we apparently should expect a call from our advocate on monday. Irs said that we need to wait 60 days even though the letter says 45 days and even though the first agent we talked to said we should’ve heard by tonight something and there is no letter scheduled to go out. It’s nice and helps you be patient when you get someone to answer questions and explain things

  192. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Well…still nothing for us. Everything sent to TA back in March and paperwork resent directly to her. I called to check in and was told that they are still investigating our return for identity theft and/or erroneous information submitted and that is why I had to send birth certificates and social security cards AGAIN. Seriously irs people childrens names are changed when they are adopted!! TA said have to wait the 30 days which is tomorrow…I am aggravated to say the least. We are honest hard working people who adopted from foster care in Texas and we certainly did not file erroneous paperwork!! Their names WERE changed, it’s standard!!!!

  193. Avatar Susan (Chad's wife) says:

    Even better news…the WMR site updated today and says we are scheduled to have our refund direct deposited on May 9th which is Wednesday. I sure hope it’s true!!! We spoke to our senators office on Friday, they contacted a TA and today the website was updated.

  194. Avatar Susan says:

    Woke up this morning to our full ATC deposited into our bank account, just as the WMR site said it would be. HUGE shout out to Senator Grassley’s office who got a TA for us on Friday and 5 days later we have money! Woo Hoo!!!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Susan, I’m so happy for you. Now if only we hear this from everyone who is currently waiting. Your post does give us hope!

  195. Avatar Chris Carr says:

    FYI…I got my refund this morning! I have to think that contacting my congressman helped get this done. So if some of you are still waiting and haven’t contacted your congressman, I’d highly recommend it (it couldn’t hurt).

    Best of luck to all.


  196. Avatar Jennifer says:

    Sent our tax return certified mail on March 21st. Got a letter stating we were in review and to wait 45 days from the date of the letter to call. Couple of weeks later received a letter stating we had to send in the supporting documents again. I faxed them the next day and then waited about 4 or 5 days before calling the number on my letter, which was the Doraville, Ga address.
    After reading all of the stories on here, I actually thought I was going to get the run around, BUT I spoke to a very nice lady, that looked up our return and said that there was nothing showing that they received my fax, but if I wanted to fax them to her right now, she would wait on the phone until they came through and then enter them. I did that and she said she would have the case assigned to her and close it that day. She called me back a couple hours later and said it was closed, and the entire refund was being issued, then gave me her direct number to call back in 2 weeks to get the direct deposit date. 🙂

  197. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    update: Same day they tell me our chilrens names didnt match they closed our case IN OUR FAVOR!!!! Wow, investigation of names verified. Of course they didnt match the court documents, they were adopted and their names were changed…should have highlighted the 4th page where the judge granted name changes…Have faith folks!!

  198. Avatar Harold says:

    My TA just called me and said that my ATC will be released in the 11th of may. Good luck all.

  199. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    @Dawn: Our wait is over but I want to help make this better for all adoptive parents. I can’t believe with technology today the IRS is having so many issues completing reviews for the ATC. If WE owed them money, they would turn our world inside out to find all the “hidden” aspects but they are unable to for a credit. It just doesn’t make sense. The folks who commented above about being denied have my deepest sympathy. It is just incredulous that paperwork is shredded and/or lost, that an auditor at the location where the return is received can’t do the 2nd, 3rd, and so on audits, that these auditors don’t understand basic adoption procedures/expenses. As far as I can tell my TA did NOTHING to help us. We waited for the “process” the IRS uses to finalize.
    Folks lets call our senators, congressmen, and the IRS watchdogs to fix this for every adoptive parent who is experiencing this problem and for all future ones as well. My prayers are with each of you!!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Renee, yes, we all need to care and to work to make the adoption tax credit permanent and the implementation better. However, rather than each person act individually, I think we can make a much bigger impact by working together. A group of us adoption advocate organizations have joined together to advocate with one voice. See this blog to understand what you can do now:

  200. Avatar ak says:

    our ta said we know by monday if not then we’re contacting our congressman

  201. Avatar CC says:

    Melinda that is great…yay for you!!! Question….did they give you interest on your money? I was told by the examiner today that I would also be receiving interest on my money 3% and it would be from January to April when they closed the case.

    Dawn….Do you know if the interest they give you is 3% of your money for each month?

  202. Avatar CC says:

    Well they said they closed my case today and it takes two weeks for them to process it so it will not leave MA unitl April 24th. They said they will be releasing my entire refund which includes the ATC. They said once it leaves the examiner in MA, it is sent over to PA where the checks are issued. Paper checks are mailed out every Monday only, unless you chose direct deposit. She said I should have my money my the week of May 7th. Im going to talk to my advocate and see what she says because why do I have to wait another month. I am happy that it is done and I am receivng the money but I needed my return like yesterday and the way they make us wait even after it is closed is just crazy. It could be worse because some people are in worse perdicaments than me but we all still need our money regardless…

  203. Avatar kluv says:

    Update from #515,558.TA called first thing this morning and told me they will be sending check out on the 18th of May and it will take 5 to 10 days for me to get it!Finally after waiting since Jan.!And they had to pay me almost 500.00 in interest but i have to pay taxes on it!That part is a crock of crap its there fault for taking so long not mine but i have to pay,what a scam!I will keep you updated if it really happens on time!

  204. Avatar melinda says:


  205. Avatar JJ says:

    I adopted without state assistance and it has been almost 9 weeks since I sent my return and now they are saying another 6-8 before the audit is complete. I would still like to assist by signing your petition if this is appropriate since I don’t have the special needs certificate.

  206. Avatar JJ says:

    I’m so happy for those that are receiving TA help. Although I contacted them March 7, still no assistance. I faxed her the elec shut off notice and now the eviction notice-she still says by June 29. Even the representatives in the audit department said I should have received help and that the TA is the only one who can release my basic refund while I’m being audited. She just won’t do it. Although I mailed everything Feb. 8, I was told by that the office where my return is that they work on the returns by date that paper work is received for audits and that they are still in early Feb and since I faxed everything (again!) March 23, it could be many weeks before they get to me.

  207. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Melinda – where do you see this? and is that all SS#’s that start with those numbers?

  208. Avatar Susan (Chad's wife) says:

    I contacted the IRS today to see if there was any updates on the status of our refund. The woman was really rude at first but I was sticky sweet with her and explained that our refund was an adoption credit and she changed her tone with me and even apologizing for the hold up. She explained to me that the IRS is going to be updating their system this Wednesday and that I should call back after 12pm on Wednesday and their may be a possibility of an update on our return status. We shall see…

  209. Avatar Harold says:

    I called the irs, and they confirmed that my tax check was released today. So we should receive it by monday. I will keep you all updated if we get it or not.

  210. Avatar kluv says:

    Update from 515,558,575.Well finally got the check today!Well im very excited finally after 4 long months!But i still have to wait now for it to clear at my bank.I hope everyone the best of luck and you all get your money soon!

  211. Avatar melinda says:


  212. Avatar Shay says:

    I see I’m not alone in this… I adopted to children in 2011.. I sent all my documents along with my tax, I finally recieve a lettter stating that my corresponding was recieve on March 26.. Then received a letter from an examiner telling me not to respone that she will respond to me my June 25 which is much longer then 45 days.. Please can someone give me a contact number to reach an advocate because I would hate to wait until June 25 for the IRS to tell me nonsense…. Thank you

  213. Avatar Harold says:

    I received a call from a tax advocate today. She said that they released part of my return and i need to send my adoption paperwork to her so they can get my atc released very soon. I will let everyone know when i hear something more.

  214. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    I was told last Monday that my case had been closed in our favor. It took a week for WMR to update and reflect that indeed out direct deposit would occur this Wed, May 16th. It also states that we should not call them until May 21st as it could take 5 days depending on our financial institution crediting our account, LOL. Our bank handles their business unlike the IRS so I fully expect it to be there on Wed unless the IRS drops the ball. I have written John Cornyn and Ralph Hall about keeping the adoption tax credit and looking into the IRS procedure for processing ATC’s. I pray that EVERYONE who adopted and is waiting on their taxes receives good news asap. Dawn this site is so amazing and the information provided is so useful. I am grateful to you for everything!! God Bless!!!

  215. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    My Texas Tax advocate just called me back…took 1 day. I am to forward her a written statement of all that has transpired and she will have my funds released within 2 weeks! I WILL hear something back by Monday. Please Please call your tax advocate and a trick I learned – if they say you don’t qualify over the phone..print the form and fax it in. This is how I originally got past their receptionist/phone screener. And please sign PJ’s petition if you want to see changes for the future!!

  216. Avatar TS says:

    I’m just adding to the list. We filed on 2/16 and were sent a letter in mid-march (that was post-dated 3/26, over a week after we got it) that we were in review and the no additional information was needed at this time. They said to give them 45 days from the date on the letter they apparently sent us from the future, so it’s really more like 60 days. We did a domestic adoption (not special needs), finalized in 2011. We sent everything with our original return (adoption judgment, receipts, cancelled checks, etc.). Just waiting now, hoping it won’t be too long.

  217. Avatar melinda says:


  218. Avatar melinda says:


  219. Avatar DA says:

    Thanks Melinda. Maybe since our adoption was Domestic, through CPS here in TX and He is considered special needs. He was not a family member either. That is probably why our return came so quick with little review by the IRS.

  220. Avatar Ben Lathrop says:

    We adopted four children through foster care last September. I sent in my tax return around Feb. 13. A few weeks ago a received “the letter” from the IRS saying our return was being reviewed. Then, yesterday, I noticed a deposit in our checking account from the IRS that amounted to about 10% of our expected refund. At first I sort of panicked, but then I found this forum and realized that receiving the non-adoption-credit portion of the refund is fairly common, so that must be what that is. I’m hoping that we won’t have to wait until August to receive the rest like some people last year apparently had to! Our dining room table is on the verge of collapse (five boys).

  221. Avatar RobM says:

    Just wanted to get feedback from anyone that submitted their return without the Adoption Tax Credit and then amended their return (for 2011). How is the process going? Did you get your initial refund (without the ATC)? Have you heard about the amended return yet?
    Just trying to decide if I should amend or just send everything in at the same time. Some people are reporting getting their regular refund prior to the Adoption Tax Credit being reviewed.
    Thanks for any replies.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      RobM, I’m curious about this as well. We talked about this “trick” on the Feb. 29, Creating a Family show. You can listen/download at

  222. Avatar PJ says:

    Thank you for signing the petition and forwarding it to others Renee.

    Even though my case is closed … I was told today it could still take 2 to 6 weeks to get my refund. I will keep everyone posted.

  223. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    The tax advocate called me today. He said that he did not want to be working on my case if my congressman was working on it, lol. I begged and he kindly gave me a case number and said I will hear something by Wed of this week…we shall see and I will keep you all updated!

  224. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    PJ, I signed the petition and forwarded it to my daily limit and will continue to do so everyday until all my friends/family have signed…I am sooo happy for you! I hope they finalize our return soon too. I did reach out to the tax advocate and also Congressman Ralph Hall in TX. Will keep everyone updated. Let me know how I can help be a voice as well if you have any ideas!!

  225. Avatar PJ says:

    I got a TA last week after I was told by IRS agent that back on 3-12-12 the regular portion of my refund had been issued to someone else. Our regular portion was supposed to be released on 3-12 .. but wasn’t … and we need at least that part because next week we have to travel to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for our adopted son’s surgery and will be out of work.

    Run down-
    Mailed return to Kansas City, Mo end of January. Got letter March 10th saying wait 45 days. Got another letter March 20th saying send everything to Philadelphia, PA. I faxed everything that same day.

    TA never has returned my call since talking with her once last week- so today I called the IRS examination dept. at Philadelphia, PA. I was told that my case was closed in my favor on 4-2. They can’t tell me when my refund will be issued.Did getting the TA help? I do not know.

    Does anyone know how long it takes after the case is closed in your favor? He said WMR won’t give any info.

    I still plan on advocating for others waiting on their ATC. I have just started a petition. You can sign it by going to

    Best of luck to everyone… & hang in there- your refund is coming, eventually.

  226. Avatar DA says:

    Maybe good news. I took the advise from this website. I sent in a copy of the adoption decree and subsidy agreement, with my completed tax forms on 2-28-2012. I just got our check yesterday. 4-3-2012. I had planned on maybe August, but now was better. Thanks

  227. Avatar Anika says:

    Hi Everyone,
    My adoption tax credit was deposited in my account today! You can read my previous postings 382,410, and 437. Good luck to you all.

  228. Avatar TIRED says:


    The Taxpayer Advocate Service is Your Voice at the IRS!

    The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS. We help taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm, such as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food; taxpayers who are seeking help in resolving problems with the IRS; and those who believe an IRS system or procedure is not working as it should. Here are ten things every taxpayer should know about TAS:

    The Taxpayer Advocate Service is your voice at the IRS.
    Our service is free and tailored to meet your needs.
    You may be eligible for our help if you have tried to resolve your tax problem through normal IRS channels and have gotten nowhere, or you believe an IRS procedure just isn’t working as it should.
    The worst thing you can do is nothing at all!
    We help taxpayers whose problems are causing financial difficulty or significant cost, including the cost of professional representation. This includes businesses as well as individuals.
    If you qualify for our help, we’ll do everything we can to get your problem resolved. You will be assigned to one advocate who will be with you at every turn.
    We have at least one local taxpayer advocate office in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. You can call your local advocate, whose number is in your phone book and in Pub. 1546, Taxpayer Advocate Service — Your Voice at the IRS. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-877-777-4778.
    As a taxpayer, you have rights that the IRS must abide by in its dealings with you. Our tax toolkit at can help you understand these rights.
    TAS also handles large-scale or systemic problems that affect many taxpayers. If you know of one of these broad issues, please report it to us through our Systemic Advocacy Management System.
    You can get updates on hot tax topics by visiting our YouTube channel at and our Facebook page at, or by following our tweets at

    What Constitutes a Significant Hardship to the IRS?
    The IRS says that a significant hardship means not being able to “provide the necessities of life” for you or your dependents. (Publication 1546.) Whether or not a taxpayer advocate will give you emergency assistance depends on her view of the seriousness of your hardship. The IRS Problems Resolution Program Handbook advises taxpayer advocates as follows:

    Generally, when deciding the presence of a significant hardship, accept any application unless there is a clear reason not to do so. Any doubt should be resolved in the taxpayer’s favor.

    Most taxpayer advocates take this obligation seriously and really try to help, particularly if this is your first time in trouble with the IRS.

    To get the taxpayer advocate to act, you must show more than that the IRS has harmed you or is about to do so. For example, an IRS seizure is not, in and of itself, a significant hardship. The IRS’s seizure or other drastic action must jeopardize:

    your ability to obtain or keep shelter, food, and clothing for you and your family
    your transportation to work
    your employment
    your ability to get medical care for yourself or your family
    your education
    your credit rating, or
    your ability to meet a business payroll or stay out of bankruptcy (the IRS is less likely to help a business than an individual, however).


  229. Avatar JJ says:

    Thank you for the information you posted in response to my other post. I appreciate it!

  230. Avatar Harold says:

    I will keep you all informed on what they tell me. I didn’t mean to put unformed.

  231. Avatar JJ says:

    Tired, Thank you for your post and I am glad to hear someone in Utah does care, not the same here in Florida. I did contact someone from my area in Florida and they sent me a letter saying for me to wait another 45 days to hear from the IRS and if nothing, then I can call their office again. I did speak with an IRS representative again yesterday regarding the birth mother’s expenses and she said it all depends on the state law. Fortunately, Florida law allows for the adoptive parent to pay the birth mother’s expenses. I have adopted two brothers and had hoped to adopt the third, however, I am so financially strapped that this will be impossible. However, I will always help with him and because we have an open adoption, the three brothers will always know each other.

  232. Avatar Harold says:

    I called and got a advocate today. I should hear something by friday they said. I will keep you all unformed when i hear something.

  233. Avatar CC says:

    Chad when you call be sure to tell them that you are in a financial hardship and cant wait the 60 days for just a review, not even processing. I was told that the WMR doesnt update once your return is pulled into the review, so dont go by that. Talking to someone is the best option. The advocate will let you know the status as it moves through processing…

  234. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    I contacted the tax advocate service today and was told “just because you are an adoptive parent does not entitle you to an advocate, unless you can provide solid proof of a hardship we cannot help you”. I am hoping to hear from Ralph Hall, my congressman later today. Saying a prayer for everyone and I am considering starting a petition…trying to think it out before I make rash statements…but it is HARD!

  235. Avatar Chad says:

    My wife called the Tax Advocate line and they transferred me to the IRS. Spoke to a very helpful worker. She took 20 minutes to review our file online. She said at this point they do not need anything else from us and we should hear back from the IRS in 45-60 days if we have not received our return. She said the fact that we received our letter means that it has triggered the process. I am going to call the Tax Advocate line again just to make sure there in nothing else we can do.

  236. Avatar Susan (Chad's wife) says:

    Anika, I was hoping you would respond with good news today! Thanks for the encouraging update. Here’s to hoping the rest of us get our refund in a reasonable timeline. Congrats!!

  237. Avatar TIRED says:


  238. Avatar TIRED says:


    Here is a copy of the letter I have sent to EVERY congressperson, and senator in the state of Utah as well as to our Adoption Liason in the Media. I encourage everyone in the same situation as us, to do the same.

    Federal Adoption Tax Credit
    Dear Sir:
    You may be aware that the Federal Government approved the Adoption Tax Credit (ATC) as refundable. In the case of SPECIAL NEEDS adoption, it is not necessary to have actual expenses and the ATC is fully-refundable for each special needs adoption.
    You may be aware that HUNDREDS of Utahans are having their ATC held by the IRS with no relief in sight. The very generous people, who have adopted special needs children from Utah’s Foster care system, are not receiving the ATC nor are we being given accurate, reliable information from the IRS.
    Those affected, including myself, have sent all requested documentation, fully and completely complied with all IRS requirements, and are still being mis-directed by whoever answers the phone at the IRS.
    In our case: we filed with all supporting documentation, received a “under review” notice stating nothing further was required by the IRS, then we received a partial tax refund (Minus the ATC), then we received a letter requesting all support documentation be RESENT to the examination department at the IRS.
    As it stands, in both my personal experience and in dealing with many Adoptive Parents across the state of Utah (and elsewhere), the IRS is asking us to Wait for up to three more months before calling, giving misinformation with each call, and there is NO relief or resolution being offered.
    This does seem to rise to the level of discriminating against the very people that are willing to Adopt Special needs children all across Utah and the United States– The very children many in society often turn away from.
    These families have given these children a chance at a normal life. Don’t we deserve to at least be given honest, concise and consistent answers from the IRS about our Adoption Tax Credit?
    Can your office spare a few moments of time to look into this matter?


    Here is a follow up (sent to our state offices) to my letter campaign:

    As you may have heard:

    The IRS is stalling hundreds of Adoptive Parents tax returns. This is creating a mood of discontent. Also, the interaction between adoptive parents and the IRS is hostile and negative. Many parents I have spoken to directly, have questioned whether they would adopt in the future or whether they would recommend adoption to their friends and families. Thus, limiting the potential a special needs/foster child has to be adopted. This is NOT acceptable to me.

    I took the issue to the President of UFAFA and was given the green light to take on this project!

    I just got off the phone (April 5) with Congressman Rob Bishop, he called personally. He is currently in Washington and intends to address the issue of IRS stalling tactics and the Adoption tax Credit! (yes we will see, but who knows) I have examined this issue at length, and can offer some steps other adoptive parents can take that may help them personally and also help calm the growing negative attitude concerning special needs adoption.

    1. Congressman Bishop provided a phone number of 801-625-0107. He stated that Adoptive parents in Ut may call and ask for a Constituent to contact the IRS on their behalf. He stated that this will expedite their return and help access their funds quicker!! This will also keep IRS agents that are sometimes hostile, from confusing and dismissing adoptive parents.

    2. Congressman Bishop is addressing the issue with the IRS Ombudsman (he states that she is often in his office–so who knows), and suggested that others may wish to do the same. This office is accessed through the “Taxpayer Advocate Service”. That number is 1-877-777-4778. The parent needs to state that they are there is a negative financial impact caused by the delay of their return: Such as, unable to pay debts and are accumulating interest; they need a special service for the child–bigger car or house; the child needs the finances for equipment, training, etc. These are a few suggestions I have enclosed the letter that I sent to EVERY SINGLE Senator and Congressman, as well as the Governor. I have had a few direct responses back (including the Lt. Governor’s office), but Congressman Bishop’s was the most helpful!


  239. Avatar melinda says:

    #441, update, we did get a tax advocate. don’t know anything yet. needing the funds for a down payment for
    a bigger house, we are full time foster parents. so please
    call and get a advocate. was first told we wouldn’t quality, but we did. good luck to you all.

  240. Avatar Chad says:

    We got our give us 60 days letter today even though the website still says April 17th is our date. I’m definitely not a conspiracy theorist but this process does suck. We are going to call and request and advocate today. We are going to go with the sticky sweet approach with them but just keep calling until there is movement.

  241. Avatar melinda says:

    to #460, you are very lucky, we did our return on jan 27th. and they are holding up our whole refund the ATC and our normal refund. good for you!!!

  242. Avatar PJ says:

    *scanned into the system

    is what I meant 🙂

  243. Avatar the IRS.Renee Smith says:

    Finally received a letter from the IRS and it is DATED April 9th. Today is April 1st. They received my stuff February 6th…They have original paperwork…everyone knows how hard it is to get copies of adoption paperwork. I am submitting ALL my paperwork to an advocate, if they will look at it, tomorrow in the am. I have also uploaded my stuff to my local news agency. I will try to be a voice for us all. Will keep you posted…

  244. Avatar CC says:

    #396 is my original post. You wont believe this. I called for an advocate and got one with no problem. She contacted me in 3 days just like they said she would. I was told my taxes were being reviewed and questioned and could take up to 45 days just to review, this is why I called the advocate. Well thank goodness I did because it was the IRS fault my taxes were being delayed. They do the paper returns by hand and whoever processed my return checked of the “foreign adoption” box instead of the “special needs” box and thats is why my return was held and questioned. The advocate had me fax over my return to her and she told me that she will be contacting them and informing them of the mistake and giving them a week to respond. She said she will tell them to release my funds and once they do I should have it in 2 weeks from that date. So hopefully I will have my money soon. It had nothing to do with who prepared it or how I sent it or what I sent. My packet was complete. It was the IRS fault, not mine. Im so pissed!!!!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      CC, wow, that is great. Don’t be pissed, be glad you got an advocate and your wait is soon to be over. The poor IRS folks are human, after all, and there was no intention to hurt you. Darn, I sound like a real Pollyanna, don’t I. 🙂

  245. Avatar JJ says:

    I received an update regarding my delayed adoption refund. According to the IRS one of my sons that I claimed as a dependent social security number has been used fraudulently by someone claiming an income of 22,000 dollars and now he has to file a form and I have to send in a copy of it because it affects my return also. How can someone criminally use somebody’s ss number, collect direct deposit w/o any difficulty yet someone who works and pays taxes (me!) can’t even get my basic refund because my adoption refund is in audit? I am very concerned what else the person who has used my son’s identity has done in his name/w his ss number. I am getting various explanations of what can and cannot be claimed regarding adoption expenses. An IRS representative from the audit department said yes I can claim birth mother’s expenses but the TA said absolutely not-her exact comment was, “you can’t claim the birth mother’s expenses, you are the children’s grandmother.” Does anyone know whether or not I can claim the birth mother’s expenses for adopting my grandchildren? (The birth mother is not my daughter). Thanks for any advice.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      JJ, we addressed this issue of claiming birth mother expenses on the Feb. 29th Creating a Family show ) and included it in our Top Ten Tips for Avoiding Delays When Filing for the Adoption Tax Credit fact sheet ( . Bottom line, difference of opinion as to whether they are eligible for the credit. Most people don’t need them to get to the full credit, so if you don’t need, then why create the hassle. If you need them to get to the full credit amount, be prepared for a “fight”. Listen to the show, we discussed this at length.

  246. Avatar melinda says:

    sent return jan 27th 2102, recieved 1st letter march 2nd,
    under review could be 45 days.march 12th recieved 2nd letter wanting the info sent again. faxed same day. told
    it would take 5-10 business days to get posted in the system. should have been in by the 26th, didn’t get posted
    till the 29th. when i called to ask about where is was. i had 2 different people ask if i put the ss# on each page that i faxed, i didn’t it wasn’t in the instructions to do before it got posted i re-faxed and certified mailed the info with SS# on each they say wait 3 weeks and if i don’t get or hear anything call at that time. the wmr is worthless in most of these cases, i first had a date of march 20th, then march 27th, then it went back to march 20th, called on both dates. and got nothing, just excusess of how busy they are. but they were nice. on the march 20th i got a referal for an advocate but no one called me, said i more than likely wouldn’t qualify. isn’t it nice when it’s up to someone else to decide for you if you should get what is yours.
    we have friends who filed 2 weeks after us and got their normal refund, and now waiting on the adotion credit, and have received no letters. i can’t even get my normal refund because our whole return is in an audit. the wmr is now saying and has been since the 20th, your refund has been recieved and is being processed. it’s not, becasue
    we have to wait for it to come up to the next availabe worker who will process our refund. i agree with one of the emails posted earlier,
    i’m trusting in God not the irs.

  247. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    Just sent an email with a pic.

  248. Avatar PJ says:

    THANK YOU Renee Smith! I really think if many of us adoptive parents going through this ordeal would call or email local and National news agencies it could help.

  249. Avatar CC says:

    #396 is my original post but I am updating my post #427…Well they (IRS) kept their word and mailed me a letter dated 3/30/12 that I received on 4/1/12(hahaha)asking me for all the adoption information that I already sent in. They even enclosed a bright pink sheet of paper for me to staple on top of my paperwork to expedite my completetion. The great news is that on this same day my advocate scanned over my paperwork that I faxed to her to the IRS asking them to complete my processing and to release my funds, so therefore I didnt have to send them anything. She said they have week to respond and that once they do I should have my money in two weeks. She will call me on the 13th or sooner to let me know the release date. Hoping and praying that all goes as she says cause you never know but I am positive and happy for her help. She said to me that some people from claims in 2010 still have not had their money released. That is so sad and I hope they pay them interest on the money they are taking so long to give to them. Side note… letter form the IRS came from their customer service center in Andover MA, my original paperwork was sent to MO. So sad that they didnt forward my paperwork that I sent in over….where is it????!!!! Will keep you are updated on my status. I seem to be one of the lucky ones who process is moving fast, I guess it is the luck of the draw but it shouldn’t be that way. Praying for us all and continue to be persistent, it does pay off!

  250. Avatar UU says:



    My adoption caseworker sent me this email… So I will copy and paste here for you guys. It is from the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

    There is an email you can respond to as well..

    – – – – – –

    Update on the Adoption Tax Credit

    We have heard from a number of families that the IRS has requested documentation of their adoption or their children’s special needs, even though these families sent in the required documentation with their return. It appears that, at least in some cases, the IRS is not forwarding the documentation on to the department that is reviewing the adoption tax credit. We have also heard that many people are getting their regular tax refund while the IRS is reviewing the adoption tax credit and requesting documentation.

    If you receive a letter asking for documentation, we recommend simply sending another copy of the adoption decree (making sure the official seal is visible) and the adoption assistance agreement, if applicable. We also suggest that you write your taxpayer identification number on each page of the documentation to help keep things together.

    We are also trying to figure out how widespread this problem is. If you have filed for the adoption tax credit, can you e-mail us at to let us know if you: (1) have received your full refund, including the adoption tax credit, or (2) have been asked for additional information from the IRS?

  251. Avatar Anika says:

    Hi Everyone,
    I looked at the WMR link today and it states my refund should be direct deposited in my account on April 4, 2012. I found out about a week ago that it was in review and that I was suppose to be receiving a letter. I never received a letter. Crossing my fingers, it’ll be in there by this date. We originally sent our taxes in on Feb 4, 2012. So it’s been about 2 months. I’ll keep you all updated.

  252. Avatar CC says:

    Dawn I truely understand what you are saying but when you depend on your money and have bills to be paid and they hold up your whole income tax, didnt even release my regular return, its hard not to be upset. This has been going on since January. We all make mistakes but they should double check themselves or look back at the return before they hold it and send you a letter requesting the same information or telling you its in review but dont give you a reason why. Some of us are in financial hardships and need our regular return along with the adoption credit. For all of you who need an advocate please call them and dont give up. I was persistent and the woman who put my case in was wonderful and understood my complaint. Call back and speak to someone else if you have to. Getting an advocate is the best solution and they allow you to fax them the info to move the case along faster. Once your case is in usually the advocate just helps you, mine did and told we what the issue was right away. Persistent is the key. Dont wait around looking at the WMR call for an advocate. Maybe they will see that there is a huge problem if they start getting flooded with phone calls. I understand the IRS has millions of returns to do but they knew that with this adoption credit being refundable and raised in price they were going to have issues and should have planned accordingly and learned from last year. Going through the adoption process was long enough now we have to fight the IRS??? No….everyone applying for the adoption credit should have been automatically assigned an advocate once their paper work was audited or reviewed and it would take longer than the 6 to 8 weeks, bottom line.

  253. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    I sent and faxed court papers signed by the judge.
    Subsidy agreement from the State and related paperwork showing my social agency signatures etc.
    A copy of my little guy’s birth certificate that shows my name as the father now.
    I circled in black marker the parts about special needs.
    I wrote my social on every page I sent.
    They were sent originally to CA. Then I called and got somebody in New York who told me to send again because CA did not send the paperwork, only the tax form. I sent and had somebody sign for the packet. I faxed everything again on March 7th. Yesterday I sent an email to our Congressman explaining my problem. This is a friggin nightmare. Oh, I did get a couple of thousand deposited into my account, however, the big balance is elusive. I am thinking about resending everything once again with photographs of me and my little boy.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Sonny, at this point I wouldn’t send them anything else, so long as you sent them exactly what they asked for. Although I wouldn’t mind your sending us a picture of your little fellow for us to add to the banner of kid pics across the top of our site. I bet he’s adorable.

  254. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    This is what the website says now when I went into “Where’s my refund.” Is this normal?????????????

    We have received your tax return and it is being reviewed. For more information, please continue.

    Please read the following information related to your tax situation:
    Tax Topic 151, Your Appeal Rights

  255. Avatar Renee Smith says: – This link will take you to a place where you can comment on your struggles and they follow up with taxpayer subjects.

  256. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    I just sent an email to my congressman. After reading that other people are having problems, they are hurting us as well as the adoption process. If other people are thinking of sacrificing for a child, this type of thing may change their mind, especially if they are paying out of pocket thousands for lawyers, etc. Someone needs to step in. If we have the proper paperwork, there should not be a problem. Originally I mailed in January everything to California, then somehow it ended up in New York without the documents and I spoke to a lady in Philadelphia. Go figure.

  257. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    I am a single male and adopted a special needs child June, 2011. I have sent hard copies of the court papers, subsidy agreement from the State, and even a copy of my son’s birth certificate showing my name as the parent. I last faxed this March 7th to the IRS. Why am I not getting my refund? Nobody can tell me anything other than it is in review and the website offers an appeal process to read. All of my paperwork says he is special needs so what is the problem? I am counting on this money.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Sonny, now you are in the waiting stage. If you have received a letter saying your review is being audited for the adoption tax credit, then you send them exactly the documents they are asking for following our Tips for Avoiding Delays When Filing the Adoption Tax Credit ). It can take up to 14 weeks to receive your credit. However, most people get their refund without the adoption tax credit way before then. In other words, most returns are only being audited for the adoption tax credit part, not the rest of their return. If you are experiencing a hardship because of the wait, you can call the Tax Advocate Office and ask to have an Advocate assigned to you.

  258. Avatar PJ says:

    I have been told by two different IRS reps that most of the returns with the ATC (form 8839) are set aside then after the extra documentation we send is shredded… they send these returns across the country to be reviewed. A few people checking in the returns will send on everything together and these few returns are being processed with out audit.This is why a FEW people have their refunds already. So, it is just luck of the draw. It does not matter how careful you are to send in EVERYTHING ask for and more. The IRS is wasting tax payer dollars mailing out these letters and then weeks later requesting info we already sent them. I believe they should make sure documentation proving the adoption is included. But, what they are doing is a huge disrespect to adoptive parents & a waste of time and money.

  259. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Tim: I have read of 2 cases on another adoption site where the families received their refund in less than 6 weeks but both stated they used a CPA. While my family could use the money – my main concern is the misinformation being provided by the IRS. I was able to speak with someone who was exceptionally nice and I am going forward based on the information she provided however other people have horror stories of folks at the IRS. I am so disappointed with the IRS for allowing this to happen again this year. I am hoping and PRAYING this does not give a family pause on adopting a child. There are so many children who need forever homes. Our government needs to step up to the plate and help people take care of these kids. The credit is really a drop in the bucket compared with the expense of keeping a child in “care” until they reach 18. We would have adopted our precious little girls regardless of the credit situation but there are families who just cant financially.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Renee and Tim, we too have heard of people who filed their return claiming the adoption tax credit and have received the credit without audit. At least one of these people did not use a CPA, but they said that they did listen to our podcasts on the adoption tax credit and followed all the suggestions. Last year, it did not seem to matter if you used a CPA or not.

  260. Avatar PJ says:

    Does the IRS let us say …. oh, I made a simple mistake? No, it is a double standard. Okay for them …but not us. So I understand your point and why you are upset CC.

    PLEASE lets all take the time to email or call into different national news organizations about what is going on…. CBS, DATELINE, NBC, CNN, if any of these people take notice and it gets mentioned on the news how parents of adoptive kids are being strung along and lied to by the IRS…and our important documents from the courts shredded by thr IRS instead of acneed into the system- I’ll bet the IRS will get on the ball.

  261. Avatar Sonny H. says:

    Will send a pic soon.

  262. Avatar Anika says:

    Hi Everyone,
    My original post is 382. I spoke with the IRS today and was informed not to pay any attention to the WMR. She stated I was under review and that I was mailed a letter last friday. She told me she could read me a copy of the letter which was sent. It stated that I was under review and they are not requesting any information at this time. It also stated it can take up to 60 days for a decision after receiving the letter. I have gotten 5 different dates and now I’m waiting on this letter. Should I contact a tax advocate now?

  263. Avatar Harold says:

    In my opinion, i think the IRS is taking their sweet time processing people’s taxes that have the child tax credit on it, is because they think we don’t deserve the money or even need it. Me and my wife adopted 4 special needs children and could use it very badeand the IRS wants to play games with our money and our lifes. I really think it is a bunch of bull crap that they can get away with it. There sbould be something we can do to get this corrected to where they can’t get away with what they are doing to is. My friend filed a paper return 2 weeks before me and he didnt have the child tax credit and he has done received his check.

  264. Avatar Harold says:

    In my opinion, i think the IRS is taking their sweet time processing people’s taxes that have the child tax credit on it, is because they think we don’t deserve the money or even need it. Me and my wife adopted 4 special needs children and could use it very badeand the IRS wants to play games with our money and our lifes. I really think it is a bunch of bull crap that they can get away with it. There sbould be something we can do to get this corrected to where they can’t get away with what they are doing to is. My friend filed a paper return and mailed it out 1 week after me and didnt have the child tax credit and he has done received his check.

  265. Avatar Chris Carr says:

    Quick follow-up: I received a letter from the IRS today stating that I should hear back from them by 5/19/12. It doesn’t say that I’ll receive the funds by then, only that I’ll hear back from them regarding my case.


  266. Avatar Chad says:

    We adopted our boys last year from foster care and are excited to get the credit his year. We are in the same 4/17 boat with no update. At least they haven’t told us that they want more information. Yet…

    I’m wondering how many they process without all the delays.

  267. Avatar Chris Carr says:

    I’ve been checking WMR a lot lately, hoping for a expected date, but still getting the “We have received your tax return and it is being reviewed” message. FYI, my return was mailed on Jan 26, I got everything above the adoption credit at the end of February, and got a letter requesting substantiation on March 5. I faxed copies of everything to the IRS later that same day (32 pages faxed 3 hours after I got the letter in the mail – I was ready), and now I’m just waiting for…something.
    I’m really hoping that the 14 weeks mentioned above started when they got my initial return, not when they got my faxed documents earlier this month.

    Just venting…thanks for listening.

  268. Avatar PJ says:

    Yes, because I sent my original return to Kansas City, Missouri. People in PA or New York are probably sending their stuff to Kansas City, MO to be reviewed. It’s crazy the taxpayer money being wasted sending these repeated letters out and sending our stuff half way across the country to be examined. The last agent I spoke with agreed with me that things would be simplified if all supporting documents were scanned in their system when the return is first received.

  269. Avatar ASB says:

    Sent refund on 1/29/12. Showed up as being received on 2/21/12 and gave a being processed date by 4/3/12 Checked 2/29/12, processing date had changed to 4/10/11. Checked 3/7/12 processing date had changed to 4/17/11. Checked 3/14/12 processing date had changed back to 4/10/11. I called the 1-800-829-0582 X362 phone number and to find out if the date had changed a week earlier because they were done processing my return. I was told my return was under review and would receive a letter by 3/26/12. I said enough is enough and called the TAX ADVOCATE hot line. I was told someone would contact me in 7 days. On 3/21 I called the Advocate hot line to find out is some had been assigned to me. I was yes and the name of the person who was assigned. I was also told what was sent out to me and what I needed to provide. The women explaned that I could wait until I received the letter or I could send the documents. The women provided me the fax number and phone number of my Advocate. I faxed every piece of paper plus extra this morning at 8:00 a.m. I received a call @ 1:30 p.m. from someone in the Tax Advocate Office confirming that they had received all my documents. SO FAR SO GOOD. One person handling everything and they have EVERYTHING. AND I MEAN EVERYTHING. I will keep you posted.

  270. Avatar PJ says:

    Hello again-
    Update from post 386 above
    I got my 2nd letter today asking for information on adoption. This letter was sent from Philadelphia, PA. HAs anyone else got a letter from there??? First letter came from NY. I faxed in everything again…the adoption decree, subsidy agreement, special needs verification, copy of our son’s social security card.I put our names and SS#s on everything! Does anyone have any idea how long it takes an examiner to get the faxed items and do the review? WMR still says I can expect my refund by 3-27-12. Well, I might be expecting it- but I won’t have it think I’ll betcha. 🙁 Please post here and tell how things are going in the process of getting your refund. It is so interesting and appreciated to hear from other parents going through this IRS ordeal.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      PJ, the correspondence audit office might well be located at a different place than than the office that originally received your refund.

  271. Avatar CC says:

    I was told by the IRS today that ALL returns submitted with an adoption credit goes to the auditer to be reviewed. It is then determined there if your return will be processed or chosen for audit. She said that anyone expecting the credit should allow up to 14 weeks for complete processing. I too was given the expected refund date of “by April 24th” which then changed to April 17th. It was originally received on March 6th into the IRS system even though they had it pysically on 2/27/12.

  272. Avatar PJ says:

    For weeks WMR said we could expect our refund by March 27th. Last week it updated and said April 3rd. Now today it changed back to March 27th again. Did this happen to anyone last year? I want to take this as a good sign but am cautious after an IRS agent told me yesterday that they can see if a DD is going to be made within 2 weeks and mine was not showing a DD. She said I would most likely get a letter asking for additional information. I am hoping that WMR is more correct than the IRS agent.

  273. Avatar Kara says:

    Just thought I would share my experience also. We filed our taxes on February 12, 2012. Got an initial refund date of April 10. Checked WMR and date was moved to April 17, due to processing delays. Checked again a couple days late and the date was once again pushed back to April 24. I checked yesterday to see if any changes had been made and it now saws that the return is being reviewed and additional information may be needed and all or none of our return may be releasd until the requested materials are received. I have received no letter from them as of yet. So I guess I’m in the same boat as everyone else. I do have a question though…Has anyone received their non adoption credit tax refund portion this year? I thought they would release this portion of my refund…but have not as of yet…Also, what day do they typically use for deposit day?

  274. Avatar jackie says:

    Hi everyone I mailed my amended return on 2-17-12. I adopted my kids in 2008.i have yet to hear from the irs one way or the other. do you guys think its to soon? should i wait longer. Lol i guess i dont have a choice Huh! whats really going on with the irs do it really take that long? do anyone think they go back and check every detail of your pass returns? to approve the adoption tax credit?

  275. Avatar Sara says:

    I too am having the problem. I submitted my documents on February 2 2012. I get a expected refund day of either april 10 or 17th (it changes) right now it says April 10th so I as you PJ am hoping that it is a good sign it says shorter but certainly not holding my breath based on everything i just read above. 🙁 I just received my refund review letter in the mail today. reviewing; >income reported on my return >Income tax withheld >Claims for tax credit. I am hoping that this passes fast as it is so frustrating that the irs holds us to such strict rules and deadlines yet leaves us hanging when we are in the opposite chair. Good luck to everyone.

  276. Avatar Harold says:

    Ths IRS received our taxes on 2/28/2012. Two weeks later i had a refund date of 4/24/2012 then it jumped to 5/1/2012. Then the very next day my refund date changed back to 4/24/12. I called the IRS today and was told that i should be receiving a letter on 4/9/12 and when i ask why is the letter coming 2 weeks after i talked to them and they couldn’t give me a answer. And i read people that file the adoption tax credit ahould receive there refund in 3 weeks of the irs receiving it. Anymore insight on this would be helpful.

  277. Avatar Anika says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Glad to see I’m not alone in this wait. We sent our taxes off Feb 3, 2012. IRS said my refund should be here on April 3, 2012. Then WMR actually submitted and earlier date of March 12,2012. This date came and went. Website now say April 24, 2012. When do you think it’s best to get a tax advocate involved?

  278. Avatar Derek says:

    Hello All, I mailed my return the 3rd week of January. I originally had a refund notice of Mar. 13th, then it changed quickly to Mar. 20th, then to Mar. 27th and 2 days ago back to Mar. 20th. :-/ Well yesterday came and no DD. Now the website just says We have received your return and it’s being processed! Another frustrating aspect here is that I too received one of those letters of mine being under review. The first from the Holtsville, NY office dated Mar. 5th saying that it could take 45 days from that date, then I received almost the identical letter 2 weeks later from the Austin, TX office stating as of Mar. 13th they have 60 days to review my return. Wow… so frustrating!!

  279. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Who can we contact in the government at the state levels to assist adoptive parents with adoption credit issues? Even though our adoption is complete I would like to assist present and future adoptive parents with mainstreaming any tax relief possible. Adopting is such an emotional rollercoaster ride and their are so many children who need to be placed but if potential adoptive parents believe that they will continue to have issues it could give them pause. Any ideas?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Renee, I think one of the best ways to give advice and support is on the individual basis by sharing encouragement and personal advice. It think you are already a member of our Creating a Family support group, but for others, please join and share your questions and advice. Not sure what you could do on the government level.

  280. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    I have a question for everyone…we have not received a letter from the irs at all. What could this mean? When I called a couple of weeks I was told our refund was being processed and not to expect anything until after April 28th IF it was accepted. Has anyone one else not received a letter??

  281. Avatar Christopher says:

    We submitted our amended returen via HR Block on December 25th of 2011 for our adoption paperwork. We have called every month, and each time get a different answer and the time span grows and grows. A long time ago, Turbo tax messed up our taxes and the IRS was quick to come hunting for their share…However, in this case, it seems their own regulations do not apply to their own set of standards. The 12 week timeline is gone as of last week…so we shall see.

  282. Avatar LL says:

    I am to like Renee We filed on 1/28/2012 and in mid Feb the IRS site said that we could expect ours before 2/28/2012, well that date has come and gone. Still no refund, now the site says it is being processed. I have had no letters or communications from IRS. Does everyone else on here use a tax attorney or file on your own. I just wondered if that would make a difference, maybe?

  283. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    Well…I spoke to someone at the IRS and she said that even though the website has shown for more than 2 weeks different dates for the refund to be deposited they just received the return on 2/18/12 and we should not even check back until after 4/28/12. She said it will probably be at least 45 days from that date IF they accept it. So I guess we are part of the waiting game but at least she was very nice and did try to help…

  284. Avatar Renee says:

    Well we didn’t receive our refund and now the sight says we have received your return and are processing it. No date…nothing. Anyone else have this happen? What was the outcome?

  285. Avatar PJ says:

    Renee, I am very curious, did you get your refund deposited on 3/12/12? For your sake, I sure hope so. Since I got the letter the online message has not changed. It still says I can expect my refund by 3/27/12. The letter said not to send anything else in and I would have my refund or another letter requesting additional info within 45 days. Has anyone else got this letter this year? I am wondering what to expect. Would it help to call them?

  286. Avatar Renee Smith says:

    I still have not received a letter from the IRS and the website has changed from April 24th to April 3rd. I am extemely frustrated about the conflicting information the IRS is providing. We certainly need the refund but are using it to start a new house on family land so it’s not crucial at this point, however our children are special needs as we adopted biological sisters from foster care so what in the world could be the holdup? I submitted foster care placement papers, birth certificates, copies of social security cards, adoption papers (original), state certification of special needs, and put a table of contents together. Does anyone have any ideas how we can change this for future adoption folks? I really want to become involved in correcting this. I am hoping and praying that all the families who desperately need this find relief soon.

  287. Avatar PJ says:

    Has anyone that filed for the adoption credit also had a Sch. C or business income on their return? We had a small amount of business income, but mostly W-2 income and one of the things listed on our letter said that they be verifying income, withholdings, credits or business income. Did anyone else have to verify more than the adoption part?

  288. Avatar Renee says:

    We have not received a letter at all from the irs…We sent our return in on 2/7/12. At 1st on the website it said we should receive our refund by April 1, 2012. Last week they updated it to you should receive your refund by 3/12/12. So I guess we shall see what tomorrow brings, but what if it doesn’t deposit and we don’t receive a letter from the IRS?

  289. Avatar PJ says:

    Yes, if I would have filed and then later amended I would at least have part of my refund amount.

  290. Avatar PJ says:

    One more thing to add- for 2 weeks now when I go to “where’s my refund” online it says due to processing delays I should receive my refund by March 27, 2012. It does not mention a review like the IRS letter I just received does.

  291. Avatar PJ says:

    We made sure the social security changed our adopted son’s name in January so they can’t be the hold up. Last year we filed with his old name and him listed as our fosterchild. Why would they not at least release the refund that is not the adoption credit? I am thinking now that I should have filed without the adoption credit and then later amended my return- adding on the adoption credit. At least I would have part of my money. This is so wrong to do to people.

  292. Avatar PJ says:

    Mailed my 2011 return Feb 1st, 2012 priority mail. They rec. Feb 3rd. I just got a letter March 9th saying my return is in review and they are not requesting add. info at this time. It listed reason for review as- verifying withholding & income amounts, verifying credits on the return, or verifying business income. Has anyone else got a letter like this? It also said we should either have our refund or receive a request for add. info within 45 days. I sent everything they would ever need with my return for my the adoption of our special needs foster baby. What can we expect? Help!

  293. Avatar leon says:

    They are mailing me a check. I had a tax advocate get everything in order for me. If it been over a while I would ask to speak with the review department and find out about the refund. I wish you luck.

  294. Avatar rebecca says:

    I filed my return back in January. It was placed in review. When I called this week I was told that the review process had been closed and I would receive either a letter or check in the mail within 4-6 weeks. The representative stated they could not tell if a check was issued. Does anyone know what this mean, or has anyone had this happen

  295. Avatar CC says:

    You’re welcome…this process is nerve recking and we all as adoptive parents need the money. I must say that the IRS has been very nice to me and has answered all my questions. It is better to call and check on your refund because they know more than the WMR site does and are helpful. I filed in NJ and my stuff was sent to MO and now its all its way to ve reveiwed as off 3/24/12 so I guess my return is moving along quick but that doesnt mean anything because it ssems like as soon as you get your hope up you are disappointed. The number I call is 1-800-829-1040 Monday thru Friday. I press 2 then 4 then 1 then 4 then 2. Its ask you to enter your social then to verify that you have entered a social security number. Then they give you choices to choose from and I press 7 and I am to talk to a rep. Sometimes the wait is long or it can be less than 10 min morning is the best time to call. When you are on hold and the music stops and u r being transfered over dont hang up. Sometimes there is silence or a pause but hang on because they are there
    ….hope this helps!

  296. Avatar Joe says:

    Just wanted to let everyone know, 2012 did not bring better policy from the IRS. We adopted our special needs foster children from NY DSS in 2011. We had all their SS cards changed to match their new names etc…, We submitted everything we needed to , and suprise suprise, our refund has been frozen for additional review…. I hoped that after the scolding review the GAO gave the IRS, things might be better this year. Heres to hopeing my family is the exception this year and not the norm. I hioe you all get your refunds quickly this year!!

  297. Avatar leon says:

    I just got a letter to day. Date Feb 10 2012 saying Dear applicant: We’re please to tell you that we’ve accepted your claim for the tax year shown above.

    We’ll change your account to show your claim and send a refund to you if owe no other amounts the law requires us to collect.We’ll include any interest we owe you.
    I talk to my tax advocate he said they expedited my file to get my refund to us. They had my stuff since 04/12/2010. That almost a year!

    I have to say Micheal they got you done pretty quick. And I never had to send in any documents in they had it all there. But I did send it fed ex and maybe that why they could not have any accuse about missing documents. I wanted to make sure they had everything. If that made a differences. But I pray you do receive your refund because lord knows we all needed it! God bless…Leon

  298. Avatar Michael says:

    I sent in my taxes and all information for the Adoption Tax Credit on October 12, 2011 as I filed an extension in April. I adopted two children in 2007 from the DCFS and I mailed in the adoption decree and the adoption assistance contract proving my children were special needs. I got a letter back from the IRS November 28, 2011 requesting I send in the information I had already included with my return. I called the IRS and they explained to me that the paperwork gets separated and that the department verifying my credit did not have access to the original return. I faxed them over the needed documents on November 29, 2011. I then got a letter stating they had received my fax and needed until January 17th to review. Then the week of January 17, 2012, I got another letter saying they needed more time and I should have a response by February 12, 2012. I didn’t get a response so I called the IRS today, February 15, 2012. I was told that my case was closed and the credit was approved. They also said that my refund would be released in 4-6 weeks. I was told that it would be direct deposited if that is what I requested. Has anyone else had a similar experience and do you think I can count on it in 4-6 weeks if it has been approved. I am excited, but only cautiously especially after reading other people’s experiences.

  299. Avatar leon says:

    Thanks! It just take one day at a time! It’s amazing how you can owe the IRS and they want there money now! But when it’s the other way around. They act like they don’t know you! Stand on your faith everyone! God did not bring you this far to let go now! God bless you all.

  300. Avatar leon says:

    I have been waiting since april 12 2011. They sent me to a advocate on sept 27 2011. Went thur the aduited in november. Was allowed the credit. Now it feb 12 2012 and it in the adjustment department. I am getting full credit for 4 boys but they have to adjust the intrest they owe us. We have bein waiting for a long time. And god and faith is the key. My tax advocate said we are at the last stage. The apartment building we are living in. The unit under us pluming mess up. So the had to move us to another unit. And the only unit that was avaliable was a one bedroom and it 6 of us. We are so ready to move. So to everyone out there be strong and stand on your faith because god is right on time never late. Love you world god bless!

  301. Avatar William says:

    I’m at wits end. I have been cooperating with the IRS for almost 1 year to get this credit. We adopted 3 children from S. America. Every time the IRS contacts me, they want something new. During my last phone conversation with the IRS, the man told me that I now need to document every penny spent to get my credit. When I puzzled out loud that this is becoming more and more arbitrary with each call, the agent tersely scolded that it is NOT the IRS fault that I adopted children. He then told me he is now hanging up, and did. The Tax Advocate told me to file an appeal by mail. My deadline draws near. It’s frustrating because there was absolutely no reason to collect and document every penny spent. Most of us didn’t. We didn’t need this type of documentation to receive the tax credit when it wasn’t refundable. It’s especially hard because it is fact that adoptions cost big bucks. If we have the children and the court paperwork, it stands to reason that we shelled out thousands of $$$ to get our kids.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      William, I hear your frustration! While I’m not exactly trying to take up for the IRS, I do think they’re in the difficult position of confirming expenses since the adoption tax credit is refundable. I will say that most people are reporting that eventually they did get the credit, but they did have to submit and resubmit and sometimes resubmit again all their documentation. I wish you the best of luck. We’re planning a Creating a Family show at the end of Feb. 2012 on the current status for people filing this year.

  302. Avatar Nuemy Flores says:


    I have 2 children that were adopted through the county 2008 and 2009. They are both considered “special needs”. I would like to know if you have any information on the adoption credit/refund on a case like this. How would you fill out the forms if they request expenses but no expenses were paid? Can anybody give me any info? Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  303. Avatar Joe Morweiser says:

    We got our back taxes in finally, they did omit certain years. Now I am hearing they should have went back further? I am waiting to hear back from the Foster Parents Association.

  304. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn I think the most diappointing part about this is not only did it take a long time to find out that the credit was disallowed, but even when the tax advocate got involved she had no knowledge of the laws or IRS guidelines. She made her recommendation twice that the credit be allowed. The second time she indicated that someone (at the IRS assmume) gave her some technical guidance on the guidelines for the credit. So that really left me feeling like “wow” how can you advocate for something or someone if you don’t have accurate knowlege. Oh well…I am off my soap box. Thanks for all your support and again I wish everyone the best in the New Year.

  305. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn I received a letter from the Department of Treasury recently indicating that I will be receiving a questionnaire asking for my opinion about the service I received from the IRS. Needless to say I am looking forward to completing that survey. I hope if others receive it they will be forthcoming regarding their experience with the IRS as it pertains to the adoption credit refund process.

  306. Avatar Kathy says:

    After 8 looooong, frustrating months, we FINALLY received the adoption tax credit portion of our taxes!! Amen!! Glad that part is over with. Hope the rest of you are getting closer to receiving your ATC and SOON! I would advise ANYONE still waiting to call your state IRS office directly and speak with your state tax advocate. They were very prompt and get the ball rolling 100 times faster!! Best wishes to all and happy holidays!

  307. Avatar BW says:

    After 8 long months for me, my claimed was disallowed. Although I had a tax advocate who made the recommendation that the credit be allowed it was denied for the second time one week ago. The tax advocate stated that she had to get some technical guidance on it because when she made her recommendation to allow the credit apparently she did not have her facts straight. Anyway, it was disallowed becasue our adoption was finalized in 2002, and we had carryover into 2007. It was my understanding if I submitted an amended return before the 2010 tax year closed I could claim the carryover. Apparently not. The frustrating part is that I had to weight so long just to find out I was not eligible for it. I even spoke to several individuals at the IRS but no one seemed to no the answer at that time. Oh well, I wish those of you who are still waiting well and hope you get your credit real soon. HAPPY NEW YEAR to EVERYONE!!!!

  308. Avatar Nancy says:

    HELP… looking for FORM 8839 INSTRUCTIONS that were available in February 2011.

    I filed for the adoption credit without realizing there is a 5 year limit carryforward. I could not find a limit in the instructions available in mid-February. We were denied the credit (understandably, since our adoption was final in 2000) but they are penalizing us $2,000, for applying for it. I even called the 1-800 IRS number in Feb. to ask if there was a limitation on the carryforward and the man there couldn’t find it.

    Does anyone have a printed copy instructions that were available in Feb that I could see. The examiner sent me a copy of the instructions that were created on 4/1/11 that shows the carryforward limit.

  309. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn have you seen this:

    GAO Releases Report on the Adoption Tax Credit

    In response to concerns about processing problems and delays related to the adoption tax credit, the General Accounting Office (GAO) studied how the credit was processed during the 2010 tax season. During the research phase, NACAC was able to share with the GAO information we had gathered from families about problems they encountered.

    The report found that the IRS’s communication strategy was lacking and its compliance review process was very time consuming. The report found that 83 percent of the 100,000 claims filed were sent for additional review. Reviews found that only 17 percent of returns needed to be adjusted; the other 83 percent had no change in refund made or taxes owed. The review found no fraudulent claims and no cases were referred for criminal investigation.

    The GAO suggests that the compliance reviews took more IRS staff time than warranted and unnecessarily slowed refunds (with each review taking an average of 74 days). GAO is recommending changes in the process for the 2011 adoption tax credit, including better communication up front.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Yes, I had planned on blogging on this, but just haven’t gotten around to it. I was planning on bringing it up on next week’s show. Thank you though for bringing it to my attention.

  310. Avatar CF says:

    Just wondering if anyone else has seen any progress lately. We received another letter mid-November apologizing for not yet responding to our info of 8/23, and saying we should hear something by 12/16. The amount of our refund was approved in August; they just needed different documentation of the adoption. (Among other things, they wanted a translated copy of the adoption records; the adoption took place in the US, and the documents are in English).

    I really hope at least someone has some good news, so that I know there is still some hope. I’m getting kind of discouraged about the possibility of seeing this refund before I file next year’s taxes!


  311. Avatar Kathy says:

    ready to leave ohio, I do not believe that is true b/c I have heard and had other friends of mine that received their Adoption tax credit refund via direct deposit. I swear the people that work for the IRS are delusional and do not all have the same training and they are just making stuff up as they go.

  312. Avatar Kathy says:

    So spoke w/ our state tax advocate this morning. She said that our refund was approved and now we wait to see when it will be disbursed. I asked her what the wait time is on that and she thought “maybe” 3 weeks. Received an actual letter from the IRS stating that our refund has been approved and to expect our refund to be disbursed to us in 6-8 weeks. What is the standard turn around for getting the check?? Our other tax refund for this year was direct deposit. Will this come that way also and maybe quicker?? You would think the IRS would want to wrap up the 2010 tax year before the end of the year before ANOTHER tax season starts. I am sure that is not the case though …. hmph. Any advice??

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Kathy, most people I hear from have been pleased with how soon it is deposited once the credit has finally been approved. I’m not an expert, but I would assume it would be direct deposited since your other refund was. My advice is to simply wait a few weeks. I’m betting you’ll have the money by then.

  313. Avatar Ready to leave ohio says:

    I was told that you couldn’t get this AC Refund direct deposit is this information not true because I asked my tax advocate can’t they just deposit the check like they did my other taxes and she said “No, these checks has to come in paper form!” who can I speak to about direct depositing my refund? How is the interest calculated? I adopted my daughter back in 2008 so are they paying 4 percent interest per year we have been eligible for the credit or only 4 percent interest based on how long we have been waiting since this credit has become payable? I’m so confused.

  314. Avatar Ready to leave ohio says:

    I had to send in my paper work for the AC and my regular taxes 3 times starting in March and I was told that they (IRS) never received them even though the last 2 times I made them sign for them by sending them certified. After my 4th attempt I finally got a Tax Advocate and in July 2011 I got my regular refund. As for my AC I just got a phone call on Friday 11/18/11 from my tax advocate letting me know that my claim was approved, but it didn’t have a pay out date posted on it yet. Does anyone know about how much more longer this is going to take? I have been laid off all year and my unemployment has run out months ago I have been doing side jobs and I got a seasonal job for the holidays. But I could really use that cash now like many of you.

  315. Avatar Kathy says:

    Steve, yes, I finally notified our state tax advocate office and they are going to help me. I faxed them all the expense information. She said that the examiner has 2 weeks to give an answer. I hope and PRAY that they get back sooner rather then later and we get approved for this $$ AND SOON! Thanks for your kind words! And for the record, I was nice and sweet on the phone and they were very empathetic.

  316. Avatar Steve says:

    After hearing the grief people are going through, 9-9-9 sounds pretty good right now.

    Kathy, have you tried going to a local IRS office in person? I’ve gotten answers that way in the past. If you do, you absolutely must keep your cool.

  317. Avatar Kathy says:

    just an update from post 326 – called today as instructed and the examiner I spoke today said there was no record on our case that I ever called on 10/28/11 – WTF!? I am so irritated! She informed me that I needed to REFAX to a different number the expenses and it could be 45 days before we hear anything back. She said that I could call back in 5 days to make sure that the information has been received and hopefully an examiner will look at it and get it approved. I said “Gee, wouldn’t that be nice!” I am trying to keep my patience here, but this is just irritating! I have tried to get a tax advocate to help us get things rolling here, but we don’t qualify, but others I have talked to didn’t have to show any information as to why they should qualify, etc. It is just so frustrating! I hate the inconsistency of the IRS! And I hate that people have abused this adoption tax refund/credit and now the people that could use it to LIVE off of are suffering! I have had 2 major operations and been out of work since august, living off of 1 income and savings is gone, 3 months behind on our car payments, barely making it here and WE don’t qualify for a tax advocate! I am just steaming mad! So sorry to vent! I just don’t see fairness in this at all! :*(

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Kathy, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. I know it is darn near impossible, but try to take a zen like attitude. Just keep plugging, keep calling, keep sending in the documents. Eventually, like the water gradually wears the rock smooth, you’ll eventually wear the IRS down and get your credit. Oh my, I sound like a fortune cookie. 🙂

  318. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn, I really thought by now things would be moving along at a faster pace. It appears from all the post the IRS has not made any progress in trying to expedite these claims. Although I was assigned a TA I am still waiting just to hear if they are going to pay my claim, and then if it will be paid I still have to wait maybe another 30 days. I submitted my claim in April, it’s now November. In my mind I visualized this as a traffic jam, and once the authorities arrive and assess, then put a plan in place, the traffic would start moving again. But it seems like that is not happening in this situation. Instead my new visual is that of a bottle neck and we are all just stuck. I am trying to think positive but it is difficult to see the light at the end of this tunnel as their are too many standing and waiting to see the light.

  319. Avatar BW says:

    Does anyone know the process once the Tax Advocate gets involved? Does he or she have to wait for IRS to complete their process? Does that person find out when they initially get involved if the tax payer is eligible for the credit? Anyone know??

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      BW, the main advantage of the tax advocate, as I understand it, it that they can expedite the IRS review. They don’t make an independent decision on whether you’ll get the credit, but can speed up the IRS examiner’s decision. If anyone knows something different, let us know.

  320. Avatar Kathy says:

    Called in a month ago, said “Yes, approved, you should be getting your refund the end of Oct mid Nov”. Called last day of Oct for refund status, woman I spoke to said “Oh, you just got assigned to an examiner and your case is now closed needing more information”. I said how could that be and I told her what I was previously told. She said I don’t know. I fax information to them and call them and now they said I should be getting a letter, which I still haven’t. She said to call back in 2 weeks to recheck status and it could be 60-90 days before a refund is issued IF we get approved. I called a tax advocate b/c I have had 2 major surgeries, I have been off of work going on month #3 and we are possibly looking at surgery #3 for my back. Tax advocate stated that isn’t enough to get help from them. Are you kidding me!? What the HELL is wrong with this picture!? I am so pissed!!! So sorry to vent, but this is just absolutely ridiculous! Any advice!?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Oh Kathy, I’m so sorry. Well you could try for a different tax advocate. You could always hire an adoption or tax attorney, but you may want to wait a while in order to save yourself the money.

  321. Avatar Jones says:

    I got refund Tuesday the 25th, Hang in there?

  322. Avatar Jenny says:

    I originally posted on #137 above. GREAT news! We received our refund, plus interest, on Sept 10. IT took about 7 months. Good luck, everyone!

  323. Avatar BW says:

    A little good news. I was assigned a Tax Advocate. As I mentioned in post #303, the first time I was unsuccessful, but I tried again and got one. Just waiting to hear back from her.

  324. Avatar JWC says:

    We adopted a child in 2010 through CPS that was a special needs child so the rules say we are qualified for the full tax credit. We had adopted another child several years earlier whose credit had been used before we adopted the new child in 2010. We were one of the “lucky” ones that got caught up in the review of our claim. They requested additional information for the 2010 adoption which we sent in and waited (the same information which we already sent in by the way with our taxes). As time goes on we finally receive a demand letter to pay the $13,170 plus interest and penalties (we never received a dime of the refund). They stated the reason for the denial because of previous credits paid (prior to 2010). the credits of which which are from the previous adoption of another child. So I sent in both children’s adoption information. More than a month later the case has yet to be reviewed by the agent, although other agents that I have spoken with at the IRS do not see any deficiency in the documentation and cannot understand why it has been denied… Something is rotten in the state of Denmark (or the IRS)…

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      JWC, I strongly suggest trying to get a tax advocate to help you. I provide details in the blog itself on how to apply for one. I hope you are successful.

  325. Avatar Burt says:

    Burt McDaniel(6)

    We adopted once in 1997 and once in 1999. We have continued to roll approximately 11K in credits forward each year.
    When we heard about the adoption credit refund, my accountant found what looks like a 5 year limit on rolling these credits forward.
    Is that accurate? Can we continue rolling them forward? Any hope of participating in the refund program for 2010 taxes?
    Your help is appreciated.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      We’re doing another Creating a Family show on the Adoption Tax Credit in December. Please submit this question the week before the show and we’ll get our experts answer. I’ll sign you up for our weekly newsletter where we’ll announce the show.

  326. Avatar Jon says:

    Refund came yesterday….plus $666 interest!
    Hang in there

  327. Avatar Jones says:

    Amen Steve to that

  328. Avatar CF says:

    Steve, you give me hope! Our most recent round of documents (everything I could possibly get; they had rejected my claim because I didn’t include a translation of the documents — my daughter was adopted in the US!) was received by the IRS on 8/23. We got a letter in September acknowledging their receipt, then got another letter in early October saying it would be another 30 days. I hope that we see our refund soon!

    Ours is a carryover also. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near as much interest as you did, but it would be nice to gt a little something extra!

  329. Avatar Steve says:

    Ours finally was deposited last night including $975 interest. We filed our return on April 18th, responded with duplicate documentation as requested and otherwise just waited patiently. For those still waiting, hang in there.

    Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Steve, sometimes just waiting patiently gets the same results as yelling, crying, and jumping up and down. Glad it worked that way for you! Also, glad about the interest.

  330. Avatar colin says:

    I filed my tax with same accountant every year.
    In 2010, our over sea adopted child was finalized and brought to US. My accountant prepared my tax which include adoption credit. A few months later, IRS audit was requesting more documents. After sending all IRS requested documents in 2 times, yesterday we received denied and NOTICE OF DEFICIENCY letter (certified and we have to sign for it). Per IRS, those expenses were not adoption related which include lawyer fees, translation fees, transportation and logging fees, oversea court fees, airfare, pre and post social worker visit fees, our adoption agency fees, IR3 visa fees, child citizenship fees, re-adoption fees, and etc. I did send IRS copy of checks, credit statements and supporting documents.
    Also, IRS is charging us a fine for 20% of possible adoption credit refund total amount as a fine.
    We have 90 days to file a petition at the Tax Court.

    I don’t know why our adoption expenses were not allowed?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Colin, I’m not a tax expert, but it does seem that those would be qualified expenses that should be included in this adoption tax credit. You should definitely appeal. Please keep up informed on what you find out and GOOD LUCK!

  331. Avatar Jones says:

    My refund will be mailed to me on the 21 of this month. Hang in there it will come. 960.00 dollars of interest I will get.

  332. Avatar Michelle says:

    We are still waiting for our return. We filed Feb. 28 and have not received any of our refund and part of it was not adoption related. We have now had to send in credit card statements to show the amounts of our receipts. Obviously a receipt is no longer good enough for the IRS……I think 8 months should be plenty long enough……I know lots of people who still have not received their refund and others got theirs right away. If they were going to review then the IRS should of reviewed all of them. Why harrass just some of the taxpayers? I am waiting to see if a tax advocate will take our case or not….

  333. Avatar BW says:

    I received a letter acknowledging my carryover amount. But nothing else. Not sure if that is a sign of what’s to come.

  334. Avatar Erica says:

    I adopted a sibling group of four beautiful children. I have been waiting for my adoption tax credit for almost eight months now they gave me a tax advocate and she said give me two weeks and we will get your return to you. That was almost two months ago. She did however let me know that my taxes sat for over three months not assigned to anybody her exact words were the IRS dropped the ball on me by letting my taxes sit for months. Im so angry right now I called the IRS on multiple occasions and every time I was told that They were working hard on my taxes. Uggggg

  335. Avatar Jones says:

    BW, I called the tax advocate twice. The first time no luck, the person was not helpful It was a lady. The second time I got a man. He was very nice. He took my info and a tax advocate call me within two days. I will get my refund on the 24th of this month.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jones, thanks so much for this info. From what we’re hearing it does seem very hit or miss as to who gets an advocate and who does not. Some are being told that they must have a demonstrable hardship, while others are not. I don’t want to draw too much attention to this for fear that the IRS will start cracking down on the more lenient advocates.

  336. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn, I tried to get a tax advocate but no luck. When I called the Tax Advocate office the rep said I just need to “wait a little longer”. When I would not accept no for an answer she said she would transfer me to the examining unit. I was transfered and hung up on 3 times. So I got nowhere. I was thinking of waiting the 30 days as indicated in the most recent letter and try again.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      BW, that sounds like a plan. Not sure what else you can do other than hire a tax attorney. Hang in there. Keep in mind that we do a Creating a Family radio show on the Adoption Tax Credit each December. You can submit your question for our experts to discuss on our upcoming show. We will notify you of that show via our weekly newsletter. I think you’re already on our weekly newsletter email list, but if not, you can sign up on the top left side of this blog page.

  337. Avatar marco vasquez says:

    my wife and i have adopted 2 boys back in ’08, we were told this year that our adoption credit would be a refundable credit and would have to paper file due to the credit, we mailed our return on feb. 4th, within a few weeks we received a partial and we wre told to expext our remaining part of the refund by april 12th, how ever this date came and went and then the website later said to expect it by may the 25th, well once again this date came and went, next thing you know we get a letter saying they needed supporting documentation , once again we sent it, the same documentation we originally sent, the letter also stated it would be 30 to 45 days, then we get a letter saying one of our kid’s ssn was tied to a 40yr old man, ixed that problem,this was in august, it is now october11th, and still we are “under review” what is going on? we are on the begining stages of a hardship, how ever when we call the tax advocate they do not want to hear it and basically say we have to wait…….it has me smh!!!!!!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      You might try the advocacy office again. Some people have had a great deal of success when using a tax advocate. I wish I had more to offer you. We will be doing another show on this subject in Oct. We will have a couple of the top experts on the show. Sign up for our weekly newsletter (at the top left of this page) to receive notice of this show date.

  338. Avatar BW says:

    Doris – was your carryover more than 5 years or was the date of your adoption finalized more than five years?

  339. Avatar Colleen says:

    I have been waiting like all the rest of you. Filed my taxes at the end of March, got a letter in late May saying I had to send the copies of all receipts. I did that and the IRS in fresno confirmed they rec’d my documentation in early June. Its been 16 weeks now and I have no clue what I can do, except wait. Like someone else here said, I pray to get my refund before the next tax season starts. Mine is only a carry-over amount-not even 5,000. But still-waiting.

  340. Avatar BW says:

    The IRS received my amended return that included the adoption credit back in April. They now are telling me that it was not considered as being “in review” until September. WOW!! So now they tell me it will be 60-90 days from the September date before I am “notified” of my eligiblity for the credit. And if I am eligible it will be another 4-6 weeks before I will get the refund. Dawn is there anything I can do at this point. Can I request a tax advocate?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      BW, yes, you can request a tax advocate. I included how to do this in the blog. In theory, you have to be able to show “need”, but in these comments on this blog, we’ve heard from people who have said that that wasn’t required or was an easy standard to meet.

  341. Avatar BW says:

    Hi Dawn. I guess it is hard to focus when I am so frustrated. Do you mind pointing me to the information on the tax advocate. I looked through the blog but I did not find that information.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      BW, I do understand. Here it is:
      The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) is an independent organization within the IRS that helps without charge taxpayers who are experiencing economic harm due to not receiving their refund. They consider economic harm as not being able to provide necessities like housing, transportation, or food. We have heard from families that have been accepted because they could not afford to pay for therapeutic services for their child with special needs. They will also help taxpayers who believe that the IRS system “is not working as it should”. You must first try to resolve your problem through normal channels.

      If you qualify for TAS help, you’ll be assigned an advocate to help you navigate the IRS system. There is at least one taxpayer advocate in every state. You can find their phone number at the TAS website or call their toll-free line at 1-877-777-4778 or TTY/TDD 1-800-829-4059. You can also check out their Facebook page, or send them a tweet at @YourVoiceAtIRS

  342. Avatar Doris says:

    We are still waiting on a carryover, we claimed for two children for carryover, we did receive a letter, one was denied because it was more than 5yrs. The other they are still reviewing with the last request of proof for special needs which includes the Adoption Assitance Payment agreement at the adoption time. That was in September, so we should be hearing from them again the middle of October. We started in April. We are also in the process of finalizing another adoption in late Nov early Dec. We now know all of the documents that are needed and will file as soon as possible January 2012. Best of luck to everyone.

  343. Avatar Jon says:

    We have similar story to many here. We adopted 3 special needs children through Foster Care and filed in February. It has been the usual wait and get letters and send information etc. Last week we contacted our State Representative to advocate on our behalf. Today I called the IRS and the case was closed just prior to my phone call, and we are getting our full refund plus interest for the 3 children!

  344. Avatar Teresa says:

    Hi everyone I to am in the same boat as all of you. I filed my taxes and then turned around and did an amended one for the Adoption tax credit. They received my amended on Feb 5th and got two letters stating will take a little longer. About a month ago was sent to a tax advocate and got a call today that I am being audited and have to go meet them in person. She said it could take 3 more weeks before I hear from them. And by the way they have never asked me for additional paper work. Has anyone else had this problem?

  345. Avatar Palmer says:

    Also getting review letters monthly. A few months ago they did find we had the SS# incorrect, transposed the numbers. We corrected it and once agian got another letter today stating its still under review, we will get back to you in a month. OK, we did have a mistake, but it took them 4 months to mention this, and now we start again.
    We will not believe we will get money until we get it.
    Dont know if we should call them and ask if there is anything else, or just sit and wait for that next letter. I just wonder if we will get it before the next tax year starts.

  346. Avatar Jones says:

    What percent interest does the irs pay?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Last I heard, the interest rate the IRS paid for adoption tax credit refunds that have been delayed is 4%. Keep in mind that the interest rate is not permanently fixed. Has anyone heard that the interest rate paid by the IRS for refunds that they are slow in processing has changed?

  347. Avatar Jones says:

    I called tax advocate and the person they assigned me too was so nice. I called him two weeks ago, and I call from him yesterday. I would be getting my taxes in the next 2 weeks. He told them to release my funds. I am so glad I called. I did not have to prove hardship. Itold them I had a hardship, but didnot have to send in documentation of it. Hand in there it is a around the corner….

  348. Avatar Jones says:


  349. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Anyone know where Atlanta Georga is for tax adoption returns? We sent the last batch in 4/29 log-in date with the IRS….still NO news..just waiting….????

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      If you have received no letters from the IRS, you should contact them. Be polite, but the IRS guidelines indicate that you should have heard from them regarding the status of your return.

  350. Avatar Kathy says:

    Anyone get returns back from IRS office in California?? That is where our tax document got sent to according to the certified letter receipt we got back. It has been 10 weeks since they have received our documents.

    I am so very sorry to all the people that have been struggling with this mess!! It is really too bad that they are so unorganized!!!

  351. Avatar metro says:

    Hi, great post! Thanks..

  352. Avatar Clay C says:

    we have been waiting since March 20 for our adoption credit for our special needs adoption. After numerous phone calls to IRS, letters received from IRS saying “we’re still reviewing” and “requesting info” that we sent in and overnighted the very next day we received a DENY of my adoption credit saying I didn’t send in the required info for our special needs adoption since we did not have any expenses. however, I did send them in everything 2x. I sent in, adoption order court signed, state of california adoption assistance agreement. I appealed the case and sent in this info back on Sept 1. Now we are back in line in the reviewing again… it going to take 4 more months for them to get to my case again!?!?! so frustrating since it’s the IRS that did not thorough look through my info that I sent it.
    the bad thing is that in my DENY letter they said they had received what they needed to show special needs.

    ANyone else with the same problem?

  353. Avatar Josie says:

    Another frustrating letter – they gave us until 9/7/11 to submit paperwork which we were compiling yet on 9/1/11 we received a notice that we can appeal at tax court. I just don’t understand how they can give us a timeline then decide to change that. The worst part is when I called, I was told they would still review our paperwork but it could take longer than the time to file an appeal…..

  354. Avatar BW says:

    Dawn, are you able to shed some light on the issue of carryforward. I’ve been getting conflicting information regarding carryforward credits. The IRS inidicates “prior years” carryforward. What is your interpertation of “prior years”? How far back for carryforward?

    I found this information at:

    “An amount of an adoption credit claimed in an earlier taxable year that a taxpayer carries forward to a taxable year beginning in 2010 is allowable as a refundable tax credit,”

    Has anyone had carryforward from previous years as far back as 2002 or 2003?

  355. Avatar Wendy c says:

    Has anyone experienced our dilemma? Have been denied a portion of our ATC stating that birthmother necessary expenses are not allowed? We have sent in a letter of reconsideration, but because we did a private adoption, these costs for necessary living expenses 3 months prior and 6 weeks after were an allowed expense and were not included in the lump sums to attorney and were provided in form of payments to physicians, pharmacies,rent, and in travel to take her to appointments. Others who use agencies have these birthmother expenses lumped together in the total fee, yet they are not getting denied the ATC by separating them out. I think we are being scrutinized because we chose to do a private adoption and all fees were paid legally and separately. I have contacted IRS and other examiners X 3 say they would approve it but it is up to MY examiner and they can only add notes to my system. Have requested MY examiner call me, but never get a call, just more computer generated letters. All documentation has been provided from the day I sent in return in March. Anyone? Thanks

  356. Avatar pauline says:

    We finally got our refund today. GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE

  357. Avatar Lannie says:

    I got our certified letter today (CPA Got it Friday) I called to make sure I didn’t need to sign anything ( they had to offset ours due to software error )& we do not. So
    I asked if it would be paper check or Direct deposit, and our’s is coming paper check and she said it shows we should have it by Next Monday! Just as I was about to end the call she said do you want to know the total, and I said I think I know it and told her the amount we thought. She said no it’s higher…we added $510 in interest!! It was frustrating and stressful, but I am happy to see the IRS took that into account and is paying the interest!!
    Hang in there everyone!!

  358. Avatar Dee Dee says:

    We filed our taxes with H&R Block and sent them in on 3/23/11 with the supporting documents that the IRS asked for.

    3/26/11 the IRS received them. We sent them priority so they could be tracked.

    4/22/11 The IRS releases the return, minus the ATC

    4/29/11 The Irs sends letter #1 – We are examining your federal tax return. We need you to provide us with additional info to substaniate the following items – Adoption tax credit. You have 30 days to respond, send copies of your supporting records.

    5/2/11 letter #2 We have received your tax return and are holding your refund until we complete a more thorough review. If you have not recieved your refund or been contacted by us within 45 day from the date of this notice, you may call us.

    5/17/11 We sent all documents again. This time we went to the courthouse and got a copy of the decree with the official seal on it. We sent these documents to Austin, TX

    6/6/11 IRS sends letter #3 thanking us for the correspondence which was recieved on 5/20/11. They will review and we will received a reply in the next 30 days.

    7/5/11 IRS sends letter #4 We are reviewing your response dated 5/20/11,you should receive a reply from us by 8/3/11

    7/20/11 I called the IRS and was on hold for 30 minutes. The man that I spoke to said that it would be another 30 to 60 days. He said that these letters are computer generated and that they are automatically sent.

    8/16/11 I Called the IRS again to check on the our account. The lady said that it’s been taking about 90 days from the time the documents are received at the IRS for the accounds to close. She said that once the letter comes that the account has been closed, the money should be direct deposited into our account. She also said that we should hear something the first week of September.

    8/20/11 IRS sends letter #5 – Please accept our apology for not geing able to review your response dated 5/20/11. We are still reviewing your response and will reply by 9/12/11.

    8/29/11 We get what we thought would be letter #6, which turned out to be a photo of our beautiful family on our childs adoption day with the judge. When I sent in the second round of papers, I threw in a photo of all of us with the judge, to show the IRS that this was a for real union. (smile)

    We are trying to be patient and wait, but, it’s getting a little frustrating. In a few more months it will be time to file taxes again. I think that if we get letter #6, we will then contact our state representative. Getting the photo back is a sign that maybe someone is looking over our papers, we’ll see.

    Has anyone had any sucess closing their account at the Austin, TX office? I’ve been reading posts here and there and it seems like Austin, TX is one of slower offices.

    Our prayers to everyone still waiting.

  359. Avatar Lannie says:

    FINALLY good news!! Our CPA got a letter to today saying our refund in the amount of _________ has been approved! No clue when we will get it, but just knowing it was finally reviewed and approved makes me feel so much better! We sent in Direct deposit for so hopefully we will get direct deposit but if not maybe just have to wait a few weeks for our check to arrive!! I will post when it does!!

  360. Avatar Jana says:

    just got my fourth “we need 30 days to review” letter. Two weeks after the date listed on the last letter… as far as I can tell no one has even bothered to “review” anything.

    Are they hoping I’ll just forget about it? Or attempting to force me to save for college by delaying the funds until my kids graduate from high school?

  361. Avatar Jamie says:

    Wow – it’s so hard to believe that 58% of the claims didn’t have documentation. Amazing. The sad, head-shaking kind of amazing.

    As for us, we’re in the same boat as so many others, on our second set of “we’ll get back to you in 30 days” letters after sending in the receipts. I’m just hoping to get our 2010 refund some time in 2011 🙂

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jamie, the real frustrating part is that the IRS guidelines did not specify what documentation to include, which is why I suspect that 58% of the people did not include what the IRS was looking for. No doubt the IRS will be more specific for 2011.

  362. Avatar Dee Dee says:

    Post 266 update. YA HOO! Well after almost six months, the adoption tax credit ferry came!! I checked our account yesterday and it had the full ATC refund, PLUS an extra two hundred dollars!!! I guess getting the photo back was a sign that someone was working on our stuff! So it looks like the Austin,TX office is working on May. Our prayers to everyone still waiting. It will happen, just pray, fight for what’s right and hang in there!

  363. Avatar Lannie says:

    So maybe the people that they say they received paperwork from in June will start getting refunds in September! Keeping fingers crossed, but not holding my breath!!!

  364. Avatar Lajuana Jones says:

    Do you know of others that have gotton their checks. It will be time to file next years return at the rate they are going…

  365. Avatar Lilly Ferrick says:

    We filed in May, have received numerous “we’re reviewing letters”. Every month my husband called in to say, “is there anything else you need from us? Do you have everything you need?” On multiple occasions and in a letter AND courtesy call from a customer service rep, they said, “no, just the receipts are fine.”

    Today they asked for the adoption decree so we have contacted our state representative because it took them . e are also digging up the adoption decree. Oh, and today w weeks to ask for it. Today we received a bill from the IRS saying that we owe them $5K and $3K in interest because we did not provide the adoption decree and we’ve been denied.

  366. Avatar Kathy says:

    So at what point do you start calling?? It is has been 8 weeks that we sent in the adoption tax credit part of our taxes. We haven’t gotten anything in the mail from the IRS?

    Thoughs, opinions?


    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Kathy: IRS Publication 552 includes information on tax record keeping and has a section on how to get tax help. The part of this section that deals with checking the status of your refund on Where’s My Refund (located on the IRS website) says:

      Wait at least 72 hours after the IRS acknowledges receipt of your e-filed return, or 3 to 4 weeks after mailing a paper return. If you filed Form 5405, 8379, or 8839 [adoption tax credit] with your return, wait 14 weeks.

      Personally, if I hadn’t heard anything in 8 weeks, I would call. Be polite and ask about the status.

  367. Avatar Lori Ingber says:

    I know of multiple families who have still not received their credit. I would continue to call (weekly) until they have an update for you.

  368. Avatar cheryl says:

    Finally after 7 months and several phone calls, I got a letter saying they need 30 more days to respond….hmmmmm….ok, at least its something!

  369. Avatar Josh says:

    Thanks so much for this original blog post and all the people who have posted personal updates. We filed our taxes in February and our adoption tax credit return was delayed and delayed again and delayed again….but we finally got the money in the bank two weeks ago.

  370. Avatar BW says:

    I found this article that might help us understand the delays. I copied portions of the article below and here is the link:

    I know this won’t make many of us feel any better, but since most of us are just waiting anyway…….

    “As of April 28, 2011, the IRS has received 72,656 individual claims for more than $897 million in Adoption Credits. Of these, 42,399 (58 percent) either had no required documentation or the documentation was invalid or insufficient. According to IRS procedures, each of these claims will be sent to the Examination function for further review.”

    “[T]he IRS estimates that an individual would receive notification that documentation is needed to support eligibility for claiming the Adoption Credit within three to four weeks after his or her tax return is received in the Examination function. The individual then has 30 days to respond to the IRS’s request for required documentation. Once the IRS receives the information, the IRS does not have a specific time goal for closing the case subsequent to receipt of the information.”

    Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) suggests that this longer, more time-intensive audit process could have been avoided had the IRS asked Congress to provide the IRS with “math error authority” which would have resulted in the IRS being able to immediately reject the adoption credit amount. “[T]he IRS does not have the authority to deny the Adoption Credit if the documentation is not provided. Without this math error authority, the IRS cannot deny the credit during processing of the tax return, but must instead deny the credit post-processing through the examination process, which is a much more costly, resource-intensive, and burdensome process.” TIGTA recommended that the IRS ask for such authority, and suggests that such a process would have been less burdensome and more streamlined for taxpayers.

  371. Avatar Lajuana Jones says:

    I have been waiting 5 to 6 months and nothing yet, I called them and they said they are working on Mays return now. I don’t know when they will get to Junes. I think this is pitiful. She did say they would be paying interest on the money. I called Tax advocate they said they could not help me. What should I have told them.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Lajuana, it is my understanding that you have to demonstrate a legitimate ” financial hardship” in order to be eligible for a Tax Advocate. I have heard of people who were able to obtain a Tax Advocate when they were able to demonstrate that they would have trouble paying the rent or paying for their child’s physical therapy.

  372. Avatar Jeff says:

    Got our deposit last week out of the blue. Had to send in documentation back in May. Got a letter from IRS that they received it and would respond by , then another letter a week or so after saying that they would respond be , then another letter after saying they still hadn’t reviewed our stuff from May and they would respond within another month. But our missing refund money was magically deposited about the same time we got letter 3. Wahoo! So can I charge the IRS interest for holding my money for 6 months longer than expected? They certainly would charge me interest if I didn’t pay them for 6 months, right?

  373. Avatar Josie says:

    Let me add to my prior post that my first adoption was completed and claimed in 2008. The IRS first starting questioning my 2010 credit because I paid for it in 2009 – my son was born Oct 2009 but we did not finalize until 2010. We were lucky with our second attorney- he was able to obtain the decree for us even though it was sealed, but even though they have ALL the documents for my 2010 credit, now they are refusing until I submit everything from our 2008 adoption.

  374. Avatar Josie says:

    We are still fighting for our adoption credit…after we supplied them with all the information they requested they are still holding the credit because they need the paperwork from our previous adoption. This adoption was closed and in NYS where I am told the adoption decree is sealed by the court and not available because it lists the bp names and info. My court gave us a certificate that stated it was in place of the decree; IRS caseworker said nope…never saw this before and needed the decree. Any ideas???

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Josie, I would contact either the adoption agency or the adoption attorney and explain what you need and why. If they aren’t able to help you, I would contact another adoption attorney or tax attorney. Surely you are not the only person in New York experiencing this problem.

  375. Avatar Lannie says:

    Yay Lynn!! You give me hope!!

  376. Avatar Lynn says:

    Post 232. FINALLY FINALLY FINALLY after 6-months of waiting our refund was direct deposit on Thursday August 25th. The Tax advocate actually called us on Monday August 22 to say it would come in by Friday and sure enough it was there. Please continue to F/U the waiting can cause lots of stress I know all to well—but I would like all of you to hang in there—I still can’t believe we finally got it.

  377. Avatar Amy says:

    I adopted 2 girls from foster care. Same thing…filed in March with all the paperwork they’d need & THEN SOME. Re-sent it all in via fax first week of May. Still nothing…except a letter saying they needed 30 more days. sigh…

  378. Avatar andrea says:

    I was assigned a tax advocate and i was just wondering is the tax advocate affective in this process ? Because it has been 26 weeks and still no refund. I am almost begining to think that it is not going to happen, My husband is working very hard everyday to try make ends meet for all of us and we think that the adoption credit will really help out alot.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Andrea, from what people tell us, they are very effective. They can’t get you a refund/credit that you don’t deserve, but they can bring attention to specific returns that seem to have fallen through the cracks. I hope this happens to you.

  379. Avatar Lannie says:

    Lynn I am always so glad when I get on here and read about someone finally getting good news and even better getting their refund!! Thanks for sharing!!

  380. Avatar Lynn says:

    I have been reading this blog since the beginning but never posted anything. We turned in all of our paperwork in March and I called every two weeks after the initial and realistic 6- week wait. Each time I would call they would said it had not been reviewed. My husband and I have been so frustrated because we kept getting letters with new dates that the return would be review. I would come here and read the post just for encouragement knowing others were experiencing the same thing. I called the IRS yesterday and finally after 6-months she said maam your return was reviewed on August 11th and has been approved. She stated I should receive the refund in about 3-weeks. I know of the frustration but just continue to F/U on your returns. I will definitely post when we actually receive the refund. Good luck to everyone.

  381. Avatar CF says:

    I got good news and bad news yesterday. We had last received a letter on July 6th, saying that they needed 30 more days. On July 22nd I called to see if there was any updated info. At that time we hadn’t been assigned to an examiner yet. After that, we heard nothing. Finally, I called again on 8/18. The very nice person I spoke with said that a letter was mailed to us on the 17th saying that they accepted the receipts and cancelled checks that I submitted, but that they are disallowing the credit at this time because I need to send in a copy of the order of adoption with a raised seal, an English translation, and (a copy of?) her passport showing she traveled on an IR-3 visa.

    Trouble is, as with all adoptions from Korea, my daughter’s adoption took place here. The paperwork is already in English. She traveled on an IR-4 visa. We never got a copy of the order of adoption with a raised seal (which seems to be a Wisconsin thing; I believe we have those for my children we adopted while living in a different state). I visited the Court Clerk’s office today, and was given a copy just like I have, with a note attached certifying that it is a valid copy which matches the original on file with the court. The note is signed by the Clerk, and has a raised seal. I hope that will be good enough.

    I have questions about the other documents, though. Will my original documents be returned to me? I can’t risk having the passport showing the IR-4 visa stamp lost, since I haven’t yet gotten a Certificate of Citizenship for her.

    I haven’t actually received the letter of the 17th yet, but I want to be prepared so that I can quickly send something back. Later on the day I spoke with the IRS we received a letter dated the 15th saying that it would take more time.


    • Avatar Dawn says:

      CF-I believe they are technically supposed to send back the original documents, but there is always the very real possibility of loss. How have others handled this?

  382. Avatar Ali says:

    I was wondering if we were the only family that didn’t recieve their refund yet, so it is encouraging in a sad way that there are others in the same situation. We filed the middle of February, sent more paperwork in middle of May for review. They STILL have not reviewed it yet. I recieved a letter in June that said they were reviewing in and I would hear about it by the end of July. I called the end of July and they said it had NOT been reviewed and wouldn’t be for “a while” longer. I recieved another letter this month saying they hadn’t gotten to it yet, and we should recieve a response by Sept. 9. Seriously. It is now over six months since we filed. Why in the world would they pull so many returns for review if they don’t have anywhere near enough people to review them?

  383. Avatar Lannie says:


  384. Avatar Cindy says:

    I sent in my return back in the start of April. I got a tax advocate and she sent me a letter that my case should be closed by August 18. I called today and she let me know that yesterday my case was refered to exam. What does this mean? She told me it could be another month before she is in touch with me. I am ready to give up on this supposive return because it does not seem real anymore. Bet I wont even get it before the year is up. So much for a economic hardship. I do not know what to do financially.

  385. Avatar Lannie says:

    Just spoke to IRS. Still working middle of May. Said mine would not be reviewed for at least two or three more weeks!! How do I file for a Tax advocate?

  386. Avatar Jen says:

    We filed our tax return in February and FINALLY got our refund check for our carryover credit last Friday! We filed for a tax advocate and she accepted our case and called us a week later. After we sent her all the forms we had sent the IRS, she wrote a letter of recommendation and forwarded it to the review dept. at the IRS. She said it would take two weeks for them to review. It took about a week, then another week until the check was DD into our checking account. Our review was done in Austin and our advocate was from Austin. So in our case having an advocate definitely helped! She let us know WAY before the IRS did that we were getting our refund. We just now got a letter from the IRS saying they accepted our taxes as is, and the letter didn’t even mention anything about the refund amount or when we’d get it (even though we’d already gotten it). So if you’re still waiting, try getting an advocate if you’ve endured any amount of hardship while waiting. Ours was just too many credit card bills and interest we couldn’t afford. They accepted that. It was worth the shot!

  387. Avatar Lydia says:

    We filed at the end of March, sent in the extra documentation mid-June and just received the “extra 30 days” letter with a date of September 11. However, as I wait and read about other people’s experiences, I am getting a little nervous for two reasons:

    1. We adopted two kids from Ethiopia in 2008 and claimed the adoption credit on our 2008 taxes (based on the advice of a CPA and other adoptive families) although we didn’t readopt until Jan 2009. We did not change our kids names except for a slight spelling change, so their names on the original court documents from Ethiopia are still consistent with the names and socials on our taxes from the last three years. Is anyone else in this same situation? If so, have you been penalized/denied because of this? Worst case scenario is that we have to go back and amend all three years of tax forms, but I am worried about getting slammed with a huge penalty.

    2. On our 2008 tax forms, I put the total cost of our adoptions (around $30,000). The tax software we use has been carrying that amount over each year and it spit out the remaining amount of credit that we are owed ($21,000). However, when I sent in all my receipts in June, I did not send in enough to cover the original amount. I just sent in the ones I had because they totaled more than $21,000 (to account for all of it, I would have to do some major detective work). Another adoptive friend called the IRS and they said all they needed was proof for the amount we are claiming is owed us. However, it sounds like some other people are getting in trouble for this. Should I be worried? Should I go ahead and send in more receipts? Should I go ahead and amend my taxes for the last few years before they can penalize me? At this point, will it make a difference?

  388. Avatar Jean says:

    anyone have any idea on where they are in the Austin tx office? many weeks ago I was told they were reviewing first week of May……we are May 9th and still waiting, told we have been assigned an examiner and have gotten the standard “30 day” letters…Maryland and Mass call center folks are very nice, hoping to get thru to someone monday am….keeping my fingers crossed.

  389. Avatar pauline says:

    we are almost finish waiting since Feb.hope to get ou refund in a week.

  390. Avatar Denise says:

    I got my first letter in April to submit all my documents. I filed my taxes and I had my lawyer give me itemized receipts for all my bills. I submitted them as well as a statement of travel expenses that I had kept track of but did not have receipts. I was expecting 5868. I just received my letter yesterday denying me the credit because I did not provide cancelled checks or credit card receipts and stating that my travel expenses are not submittable. Along with them assessing me a penalty of 1260. So now I guess I’m going to have to spend even more money to get a lawyer to appeal this!! I wish I had never even taken the credit. I spent well over 13700 just on lawyer fees for the adoption.

  391. Avatar Steve says:

    It’s very important that people not spend or commit this money until it’s actually in your bank account.

    As for frustration hoping the IRS will become efficient and compassionate, don’t hold your breath waiting on that to happen. 😉 There’s a reason Dave Ramsey calls them the KGB.

    Keep in mind that until this year the credit was not refundable. Personally we’re in our third rollover year and based on past and projected income expected to leave $10K of credit on the table unclaimed at the end of five years. It’s a blessing to get it all and in a lump sum. We plan to use our return as down payment on a house with some room for our kids to just be kids. My wife wants out of this rental by next summer and in a home better suited to surviving this Texas heat.

    Until that happens, the best thing we can do is just carry on as if the tax laws hadn’t changed.

    We didn’t even know about the tax credit when we adopted, so anything we get is more than we were expecting.

  392. Avatar susan says:

    Same here – filed on April 15th, submitted the requested paperwork sometime in May. Got 2nd letter letting us know they had rcvd our paperwork. Why do all of these letters come in duplicate?? Our minivan died on 6/4/11. My hubby and I didn’t want a car payment and were holding off for this refund but after sticking $4000 into the van over the past 2 years and having it leave me and my kids stranded 25 miles from home in 98 degree weather, it had to go. So we scrambled & bought a decent vehicle which our kind banker put on a short note for us because we were hoping we’d have our refund by now and could pay it off all at once. Nope. We did receive the tax portion of our refund which was good because that allowed to pay off the minivan so we could get rid of it. We live in Wisconsin and cannot have a vehicle parked on the street in the winter. Got our 3rd letter from the IRS requesting yet more info which consisted of the same requested information we had already sent them. Just received letter #4 letting us know we’re under review. I get to call the bank tomorrow so that I can turn the vehicle loan into a regular monthly payment – just what I need. Wouldn’t it be grand if the IRS was required to turn over our money as quickly as they expect us to respond to the letters they send us or pay them when we owe them??

  393. Avatar Lannie says:

    See posts 191 & 198. Talked to our CPA today and he said he talked to IRS and that they had assigned our case to an actual person but they had not gotten to reviewing it yet (hmmm sounds very familiar)! He said that because of this he was sure it would be September before we got any response and even then it would be at least 6 to 8 more weeks to get our money!!! I am beyond frustrated & stressed out! I can’t believe something that was set up to be such a help to adoptive parents has turned into such a complete nightmare!!

  394. Avatar virgil says:

    I am in the same boat as everyone else we did our return
    back in march I still have not heard anything no letter
    I have called many times they tell me it is in review
    wait 45 days then we can connect you with that dept.
    My 45 days are up on the 15th of aug. we will see what they say then if it is another story {I GIVE UP}
    I am really starting to believe no one will get it although
    I will remember it when I owe taxes next year.

  395. Avatar Amy says:

    Heather – yes, ours was denied. The first time, they didn’t bother to notice that we were applying for a credit for our *second* child and thought we just had one child. We had to send in paperwork to prove we had adopted two children. The second time was a dispute in the total amount. Someone didn’t bother to look through the whole return and see that the amount we rec’d in 2009 was partly from the $1500 energy credit. We had to get that straightened out before now (and we are still waiting to receive it).

  396. Avatar nessa says:

    mailed my adoption paperwork in February 2011, its now almost 6 months later and I’ve been receiving the 30 – 45 day letters that we will get back with you message. I had plans to pay off my car but because it took so long i had to turn the car back in but I could use it to catch up other bills now. Hopefully soon i feel its coming its over $9000+ School is about to start and I could get out of debt!!!!! Just waiting:)

  397. Avatar Heather says:

    Dawn, we actually adopted 2 special needs children in 2008 and meet all of the criteria and have submitted all of the requested paperwork on 3 separate occasions now. I totally understand that it takes a while to get through all of these, but 3 weeks now and no phone call from the examiner. It does seem to be a standard penalty that they apply if they disallow the claim, but I can’t even figure out why they would disallow the claim, and why they don’t have to provide any information as to why! I am just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that someone out there can give us advice if it’s happened to them. Thanks!

  398. Avatar Matt says:

    My wife, Tracy, and I are jumping through the same hoops. I would like to see some accountability by the IRS. When I finally talked to someone who had a clue as to why they are auditing 100% of the claims they said it was due to many people filing illegal claims for the New Homeowner’s tax credit a couple years back. Obviously the IRS is way in over their heads. They don’t have the manpower to do this. They are currently looking over claims that were resubmitted in mid-May. Most IRS agents that I have spoken to are absolutely clueless. This has, by far, been the most frustrating part of the adoption process, and everyone knows how stressful that process is. I have been in constant communication with the IRS, but it doesn’t do us any good. I keep receiving (4) letters in the mail from the IRS stating that I will have a response within 30 days, and then they send another letter stating they need more time. We are looking at a late-August response right now according to the last agent that I spoke to. Rather than them penalizing people for filing false claims they should be paying interest on all of the taxpayers that they are screwing over by making them wait. Thanks to all that have submitted response on this forum. I have found them very helpful. Best wishes to all!

  399. Avatar Steph says:

    Ok, I am hoping anyway might have some insight. I adopted a distant family member from another state in 2009. I have had guardianship of her since she was 2 1/2. Well she has since I had her been diagnosed: ADD,ADHS, attachment disorder, impulse disorder, and asthma. He mother used drugs while she was pregnant and her siblings area all on SSI for psychological disorders. Her biological mother also is bipolar. Well our CPA brought the adoption credit info to us when we filed our taxes and said I think you guys would qualify for this. We have never received any susidy for her as we were told that in the state we live in they go off your income and we would not qualify. I went to her psychologist, psychiatrist and had psychological testing done. I was able to get a letter stating why she meets the criteria for special needs and of course they are state licensed. Well I submitted all my documentation and received my full refund in about 8 weeks or so. This week I receieved a letter stating that I have to submit the form for my subsidy to prove shes special needs. I dont get a subsidy so I don’t know what to do now. Lookinf further into this I am finding out that I can not get a subsidy because it would of had to be determined prior to the adoption. Has anyone else ran in to a problem like this? I wish they would have given a little more insight into what they expected because we were given these funds months ago and having to pay them back at this point would cause an hardship to our family. Any advice would be greatly appreciated…

  400. Avatar Stacey says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Regarding charging the penalty , they are saying they will if this doesn’t resolve in our favor! Similar story to many other people, domestic adoption, received all the letters saying they are reviewing (always 4 copies of each letter. Our tax dollars at work, right?). We sent all the documentation in , then received, on Monday, the letter saying they needed more time, until 9/3. So I called, was on hold for 24 minutes! Then a nice person told me she was looking at our file and that yes, they had received all our documentation, but had not yet looked at it. She apparently didn’t know what she was talking about, which does not inspire confidence, because the next day – yesterday – we received an ominous looking large envelope from them saying they had in fact reviewed the documentation, and they were continuing to freeze our refund, AND they were planning to charge us 20% of what we (really our CPA) had claimed the refund should be, as a penalty. What??!!??!?!

    The other disturbing, eyebrow-raising part of this is out of 30k+ of adoption-related expenses, about $550 aren’t represented by receipts, but by bank records – and this is the basis upon which they are denying us the entire refund AND penalizing us. Wow.

    I am now waiting for the actual examiner to call me so we can discuss this. I will request that the $550 in expenses be removed, and the return based on the remaining, fully-documented receipts, etc.

    FYI: I called our very experienced and grizzled and surprised-by-nothing, NYC CPA yesterday to tell him what was happening and he was in in complete disbelief about the penalty, he said he’d never heard of that and if the IRS really did that we should hire a tax lawyer and sue them. Yeah, right. But it’s interesting that he had that reaction.

    I am a yoga instructor: I will need to bring to bear all my years of training and teaching in order to breathe and not yell during that conversation with the tax examiner.

    Stacey in Brooklyn

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Stacey, please keep us informed about what you find out from the examiner. I am trying to get more info on what is happening on assessing penalties for claims that are denied. I’ll let everyone know what I find out. If you aren’t already on our newsletter email list, sign up on the upper left column since that is the method we use to tell you new information.

  401. Avatar Heather says:

    This is my first post, but I have a long saga, I tried to read through all of the above posts and don’t see any that pertain.
    Has anyone actually had their credit disallowed?? This is the latest letter in a string on many since March when I filed! I am so stressed!! I keep calling because they offered no explanation in the paperwork. And, no one has any idea what is going on. They all say that the reviewer who disallowed it has to call me and tell me why, but after three weeks of waiting for a call still nothing.
    Not only did they disallow it, but they added a penalty of $3500 for incorrect filing! Ours was only a carryover credit, not even a new credit. Anyone else in this boat? I just don’t know how to proceed!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Heather, yes, I have heard from people that were denied. In all the cases that I remember, it was for legitimate reasons, such as the person having applied for the credit for adopting a step child or for an adoption that was before the time cut off. I have also heard of people who had a penalty attached, but I believe it was again for “legitimate” reasons having nothing to do with having tried to claim the adoption tax credit. In this case, it sounds like you will have to wait until you hear from the reviewer. She/he will eventually call. If you disagree, then you should challenge it. I will post this question on our social networks to see if anyone was charged a penalty for simply filing for this credit incorrectly.

  402. Avatar Amy says:

    We went through this lengthy process as well since February, and last Friday we were told (after they screwed up 2 times with the amount) that our case was closed and that we would receive the money in 4 to 6 wks. I am getting a little nervous though if we will ever see it or that it will be delayed further due to the budget/debt crisis.

  403. Avatar Steve says:

    I signed up for the newsletter and will glean the archives. Many topics do look relevant.

    We don’t qualify for an advocate. We filed on April 18th and have received and responded to the request for additional (repeat) documentation. Don’t really have time to bug the IRS and I doubt it would help my mental health. I already have four people I can’t get a straight answer from. 😉 Why ask for more. It’s just comforting knowing our experience is in line with others’.

  404. Avatar BW says:

    Today I spoke with an IRS rep who seemed to have some knowledge. She confirmed that our amended return has been “just sitting” (see post #186). She indicated that she would “assign” the returns to the appropriate department. She said adoption credit refunds are being sent to the Andover Center for processing. However although our return has been “just sitting” for almost 16 weeks, it will be at least another 8-12 weeks before the return is complete. But the bright side is that now we might start receiving some of the computer generated letters that others have received Yeppie!! This is so frustrating. Patience is a virtue right?

  405. Avatar Mandy says:

    Doing the Halfway Happy Dance. Just called and our case was closed in our favor on July 28, check to be expected in 4 to 6 weeks. I will believe it when I see it but I feel a little less stressed.
    See posts 93, 131 & 184 for our experience

  406. Avatar Lannie says:

    Trying to call IRS and keep getting a message that due to circumstances beyond their control my call can not be answered? anyone koiw what this is all about?

  407. Avatar Lannie says:

    We adopted 3 Special needs children in 2010 through CPS. Our story is much like everyone else except we had an error on our amended return because of the Tax Software. We got the letter saying we were being reviewed in April, and they were looking all the way back at an adoption credit we took in 2004 ( We adopted a child with special needs in 2003 & had a carry over). We took everything to a CPA and he got copies of every thing and submitted it all as well as an explanation for the calculation error! In June we got a second letter that was disallowing our claim and at the same time asked for us to submit all this same documents again (like they never received anything our CPA sent). Two weeks later we got a letter (actually
    4 copies of the exact same letter) saying they received everything and would have a decision for us by August 5 or request more time. As we approach that date and after reading this page I have a very bad feeling they are just going request more time again and this is going to drag on FOREVER and then we are going to end up with nothing. I have not called the IRS but I guess I will start doing that now. Was really hoping to have the refund to help get our 5 kids back to school ready. I’m feeling like that is unlikely now! Discouraged

  408. Avatar Lannie says:

    And today we received another letter (actually 4 of the same letter) stating they are reviewing my response and we should receive their reply by 09/03/11…gee 30 more days who would have guessed it?!? I see no end in site!! At this rate we will be filing our 2011 return before we get our ATC!!!

  409. Avatar mom of 2 adopted says:

    Can anyone tell me if you get a letter saying when they closed your file, or do you have to call in to check? When I called, they said our file had been closed in our favor as of the 21st and we should receive a letter stating so. Then a direct deposit in 2 – 6 wks? Is this how its gone for others here? We have not received a letter stating our file has been closed….
    Also, if the Gov. can’t get this budget passed, are we even going to see our returns? I hope that isn’t the case!

  410. Avatar Steve says:

    Dawn, I listened to many of your podcasts about 3 1/2 years ago when we were going through the whole foster adoption process. We adopted a sibling group of four in October 2008. Thank you for your encouragement both then and now.

    Does the outcome, or process time, seem to be any different for those who call the IRS as compared with those who just provide the requested documents and wait?

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Steve, first, thanks for your kind words. It means more than you probably imagine. Second, congratulation on your kids. Keep listening to the podcast since many of our topics deal with raising kids post adoption. If you aren’t already on our weekly email newsletter list, sign up on the upper left column of any page of this site. We send out the topic for the weekly radio show/podcast, video and blog.

      As to your question, I don’t have anything close to a “scientific” answer since all that I’m hearing is anecdotal, so all I can give you is my gut feel from what I’m hearing and my knowledge of how the government works. If you qualify for a Tax Advocate, from what I’m hearing, they make a difference-often a big one in terms of bringing attention to your case and getting a check sooner. If you don’t qualify and have been receiving regular correspondence from the IRS asking for more info and letting you know that you are “still under review”, I don’t think it matters in terms of speed of receiving your return whether you call the IRS or not. It might matter in terms of your mental health, but I doubt it really speeds things up. If however, your process seems to be significantly different than those outlined in the above comments–let’s say you never received any request for information or you have heard nothing after waiting the specified amount of time, I think it makes sense to call to make sure your case hasn’t fallen through the cracks, literally or figuratively.

  411. Avatar Mike says:

    We did our return the day after the OMB released the 8839 form hoping to avoid the rush.
    On 1/26/11 got confirmation from USPS that return was accepted at IRS.
    In late February, got letter saying that they are reviewing our return & more info needed.
    Sent them the requested info overnighted the very next day.
    At beginning of April, received letter stating that they received our info on March 2nd. and that they would let us know something within 45 days from April 2nd (not from the time they received the documents).

    Bottom line is H&R Block did our taxes and did an absolutely great job. Here we are WAITING in week 14 since they received our return with no refund due date or end in sight. Sorry – just getting very frustrated. I try to be as understanding as possible, but it becomes harder and harder with each passing week.

    BTW – the WMR feature never seems to update anything once you get the message that your return is being reviewed.

  412. Avatar Toni says:

    We follow the same suit as most everybody else. We mailed everything required and received paritial refund minus adoption credit. I received my paritial refund and the letter sayng I was under review the same day. They have not requested further documentation as of yet. I believe in the power of prayer. If we receive this it will be a blessing for our family. I understand that so many families are really in need. As a society let us all take a minute and Thank God for our forever families.
    They are our true blessing in this life.

  413. Avatar Esther says:

    We received ours with no trouble six weeks after we filed. It was for two adoptions, one 2005, one 2006 that we had carried over from the previous years. I am assuming since they were carryovers the burden of proof wasn’t as great?? not really sure, but sorry for those who are waiting.

  414. Avatar Jim says:

    We adopted from Kazakhstan in Aug 2010. The adoption was completed in Kazakhstan so we were not required to re-adopt in the USA. We filed our taxes in mid-February and received the full credit about 4 to 6 weeks later. No problems at all.

    I’m sorry for those that are having delays. We hope that your credit will come soon!

  415. Avatar G.Brent says:

    Have been waiting like everyone else. Cathy your story is
    exactly my story, I sent my return certified on the 10th.
    Have received three letters so far. Send the adoption decree,
    adopted two sisters in 2008 “special needs”. My letter
    stated 30 days and if an additional 30 days was needed, I
    would be contacted. No 4th letter has come, but no refund
    either. IT’S BEEN 12 WEEKS FOR ME, and it’s very frustrating,
    but I am happy to see that I am not the only one suffering
    with this tax matter. That’s what is helping me to cope……

  416. Avatar Kurt Knapp says:

    Very good information. When we filed our 1040, our preparer from H&R Block, neglected to tell us to file all the supporting documentation with the 1040. We received a partial refund (on the withholding tax) but nothing for the adoption credit. A few days later we received a review letter from the IRS requesting the documentation, which we immediately sent. That was 4 weeks ago. We know the IRS received the documentation because we sent it certified mail. Now we wait and wait. Having been in business for over 30 years and had dealings with the IRS before, Im really sceptical that we’ll ever see our adoption credit.

  417. Avatar anonymous says:

    We received our credit a while ago. We included every form of documentation we had, plus more. It could take a while, so give them whatever they want and be patient. . .

  418. Avatar Anonymous says:

    We filed in mid-Feb providing all the necessary docunentation(along with some that was NOT asked for)
    and found the IRS wording to be very unclear (i.e.
    what exactly is a “Hague Convention certificate”?)
    We just received our full refund back about a week
    ago, so it took 2 months to come back….Be Patient!!

  419. Avatar Stephanie says:

    I took your survey, but thought I would add something that wasn’t on it. I called yesterday to confirm receipt of everything I faxed over last week and was informed it takes a minimum of 2-3 weeks for it to show up in the system. In my opinion that is a very long time to just figure out if they even received what you sent. She explained that clerks check everything in for the reviewers and have to stamp everything with a received date stamp.

  420. Avatar Andy says:

    Yes – if you have noticed a partial refund (total refund minus adoption credit), a letter will follow soon advising you that your case is under review. There are a few families that have gotten the refund, but the majority seem to fall under this ‘review’ category and are waiting for the next portion of the refund.

    There are some families getting letters requesting proof of the expense.

  421. Avatar Cathy says:

    I am listing our timeline thus far…

    Mailed our tax return 02/07/11.

    I cannot recall the dates that we started seeing statuses on Where’s My Refund…but those dates changed a couple times.

    Approx. 03/09/11 our status changed to the…we’re reviewing your return and you will get a letter.

    03/11/11 received refund minus adoption portion.

    03/24/11 received a letter stating we are reviewing your return, we don’t need any additional info right now.

    04/01/11 received a letter stating we need additional info. Faxed requested info in that same day.

    04/19/11 received a letter stating that they received our documentation on 04/01 and we would hear back from them within 30 days.

    Today I called to check-in. I was told that the review takes 30-60 days. Once it is resolved it takes an additional 4-6 weeks before you actually see the refund. I asked if they update Where’s My Refund, but was advised that they really don’t use that for returns that are under review.

    I have found that I often get conflicting info depending on who I speak with and based on what letters I receive say…so has anyone else reached this point in the process? Has anyone made it past the review?

  422. Avatar holmegm says:

    What’s ticking me off is that our last two adoptions, for which we would have received more rolled-over credit for if the law hadn’t changed, were completed in 2006 and 2007.

    We qualified for the credits *years* ago, at this point. We just couldn’t *receive* it all at once then since it was non-refundable. We had no idea that they would, years later, turn around and suddenly make us “prove” it all over again.

    So, for just one example, are we supposed to give them the conversion rates for Chinese currency in 2007, so we can say how much the hotel bills were? This is ridiculous.

  423. Avatar Donna says:

    I believe that your words are very unkind, and very hurtful to many adoptive families. It sounds as if you would rather see children just sitting in orphanages instead of them coming home to a forever family…just because the family had to take out a loan or loans? No way!! What YOU are saying is “silly”. Families who aren’t able to come up with the huge fees associated with adoption expenses are NOT unethical just because they take out a loan to finance the adoption!!! How can you say that????
    The credit (and now refund) is somthing that has been written into the law; it was not something adoptive families are just erroniously demanding. It is a benefit offered by our government to the citizens of our country who have the qualifying adoption expenses. No matter how families finance adoptions (legally, of course); whether it be by way of savings or loans, etc. is simply that own families’ business.
    There are some families who are simply not independently wealthy, and simply may have to supplement their savings by taking out a loan. I can only imagine just how many more orphans would be still waiting (some in dire situations around the world) just because a family felt “SILLY” (your words, not mine) taking out a loan.
    I know we are eternally grateful that our children are no longer in orphanage, and instead they are HOME!!!!

  424. Avatar Janice says:

    I was wondering after you read your status on line about being under review and we will recieve a letter, which has been two weeks or longer, No leter yet. I know someone who adopted the same way through the state and she was told online the same thing when she recieved her letter, but they never asked for any new information or asked for her to send anything. It was redunit the same thing online and after getting the letter it never told her nohting new. She was thinking the IRS is overloaded and she will get hers soon which is a large amount of over 30.000.00.
    Now I am reading the same thing online as she has but I have never got any letter yet. Has anyone encountered anything like this with getting a letter not asking to send anything new to the IRS.

  425. Avatar Jeff says:

    I haven’t gotten any info from the IRS, but today I found a partial tax refund posted to bank account. Why would they give me part back without any documentation explaining it? I guess I should expect a letter about a pending review/audit.

  426. Avatar Kim says:

    Excellent write up. I appreciate the links. We received the first letting stating we were in review, then just received the letter saying we need to provide the adoption decree along with written accounts of expenses along with canceled checks and receipts.
    I find this utterly ridiculous when all the IRS required us to send is the adoption decree, which is what I sent. I had my taxes prepared and PAID for them to be prepared by a professional CPA and yet IRS is saying it is incomplete because of these receipts. Thankfully they are all tucked neatly in the folder our CPA gave us where he used them to tally up our expenses, which we all know were well over the $13,170 they are refunding us.
    There are many people counting on this money for spring or summer trips, or in our case, to pay our credit card where we put our plane tickts on. So the more months we wait the more interest charges we have. BTW, we mailed ours the Monday after the 8839 came out of draft. As soon as our CPA had it prepared. Just Friday was when we received the letter requesting more proof. So it took them over 2 months to tell me this. UGH!

  427. Avatar Mike says:

    I never count on the IRS in my life,We adopted 2 children last year if the IRS needs the money they came keep it.

  428. Avatar Kristin says:

    We filed our taxes in February as soon as the forms were available. I only sent them the info they requested, a copy of our adoption decree. In March we received the letter stating were were under review and two weeks ago we got a letter asking for another copy of the adoption decree and a written description of all expenses with receipts, cancelled checks, etc as evidence of expenses.
    I pulled everything together and mailed it on Saturday, priority mail with delivery confirmation. They received it this morning. Hopefully, they are happy with everything I sent and we’ll get our refund soon. I’m thinking optimisticly. The money will be our first payment on our second adoption!!

  429. Avatar Heidi says:

    I used H&R Block’s electronic program and it asked for copy of adoption decree and list of expenses plus receipts. I sent those for our adoption completed in 2010, but now realize I didn’t do the supporting paperwork for the carryover adoption from 2008. I assume that will flag me for the letter. Better start getting all that ready… (And I thought I was done.)

    Thanks for this super clear, comprehensive summary of this very complicated issue. This site has been the best source of info on this.

    Will take the survey now.

  430. Avatar Sandi says:

    After reading as many posts as I could on this before sending our taxes off I sent all adoption documents, receipts, and cancelled checks. The packet I sent was over 45 pages! So I hope that it is what they want and we will get the refund without having to re-send more information.

  431. Avatar cindi says:

    i sent them the adoption decree, naturalization papers, and adoption contract for my international adoption from 2009. this would be my adoption carryover, $5000. i am being reviewed and was asked at the end of march to include the decree and ir3 along with documentation of all expenses. why is that if it says on their description of the refund that you get it regardless of the expenses incurre? why can’t you just send in proof of the adoption. this is so suspect to me. i wish they’d give this level of detail a try and try auditing social security fraud and medicaid/medicare.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Cindi, the only adoptions that get the refund without proof of qualified expenses incurred are domestic special needs adoptions. Your international adoption would not fit within this category.

  432. Avatar dr says:

    @ Jen Gee
    No one should ever take out a loan for an adoption with the sole intent to pay it off via a tax refund specific to adoption costs. Thats just silly! No agency/adoption attorney should ever ethically advise to do that. imho, people that adopt are never automatically entitled to any refund/credit.

  433. Avatar Corie says:

    We submitted our taxes and just got our return back a few days ago, however it was very short. What we got back did not include a dime of the adoption credit. We too had to take out huge loans that we have been paying on and plan to use the money to get out of debit. We were told to be expecting a letter in the mail. We are like most of you and do not understand how when you follow the IRS instruction to the T they can say, “NO, Not good enough.” What do you do? Put on a happy face I guess and do whatever they ask. Not Right.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Corie, most people I’ve spoken with have rec’d the part of their refund that is unrelated to the adoption tax credit. I’m not trying to “take up for the IRS” here, but do want to point out that it is their job to make sure that everyone who is applying for a refund is actually entitled under the law to receive that refund. They audit tax returns all the time for this purpose. I have no doubt that they pay special attention to refundable credits, such as the adoption tax credit, because it is not a “credit” on what you owe them, but an all-out refund from the gov’t. I am sorry however that they weren’t clearer up front in what type of documentation they were going to require to prove your eligibility for this return..

  434. Avatar Jennifer says:

    My question is – do I only need receipts for the credit amount of say $12,000 even though I spent around $25,000 in total.

  435. Avatar Jennifer says:

    I assume you only need receipts, canceled checks up to the amount of the credit? I can’t find every receipt but I have plenty to cover the whole credit amount. Does anyone know?

  436. Avatar Eric says:

    We filed back in February with a CPA and are still waiting for the refund. We only received the first letter at end of March stating to wait 45 days before contacting the IRS…
    patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue… patience….

  437. Avatar Cathy says:

    I received my third letter from the IRS yesterday (dated 04/18)…confirming that they had received my documentation on 04/01. It stated we should hear something within 30 days.

  438. Avatar Phil says:

    I always file myself, no CPA. We mailed on 2/28 and VERY large refund was direct deposited on 3/25. No problems at all. We did not send any payment backup and were filing for 2 previous adoptions. Good luck to all of you still waiting.

  439. Avatar Sandy says:

    We filed right after Form 8839 came out of 2/18 using Turbo Tax/mail for our 2010 domestic adoption. Only included an original adoption decree. Received a partial refund, excluding the adoption portion. Two weeks later, we received a letter stating they were reviewing and we need not do anything. Two weeks later, we received another letter requesting documentation of the expenses. I did not copy every receipt or any checks. I faxed the Affidavit of Receipts and Disbursements that our attorney filed with the court prior to finalization (this may not be national – we are in Florida) almost 2 weeks ago and when calling the # on the letter, I was told that the correspondence hasn’t been logged yet (she said fax was still faster than mail) into the Brookhaven ? office but to wait another week because they receive so much. Anxiously awaiting to get into our new home and pay down debt! 🙂

  440. I did not mean to sound like I was minimizing the situation for the families and I do apologize…I was just trying to point out the fact that the new change will help so many more families—especially familes who have adopted older children out of foster care.Actually I did before, I had the huge adoption loans that I am still paying for (because of the way the credit used to be)..and I am one of the ones who unfortunately did not get to use all of our adoption credit because of the way the rules were before….by the time I went back to work after adopting our son….and we could have used the remainder of the credit the time had expired the prior year. I am not disagreeing that it is a huge inconenience…and they should have planned better…but the change allows for a lot of families who adopt out of foster care to be able to get the credit.

  441. But a lot of families never get the benifit the other way!!! And the expense of adopting out of foster care requires a lot of immediate needs for the new additions. I hope they leave it this way. In the future they will be more prepared. Just be patient….it all works out 🙂

  442. Avatar Jennifer says:

    I wish they had left the guidelines the same (rather than allowing the credit to be refundable). I would’ve gladly carried over an amount to next year to avoid this headache.

  443. Avatar Bennett says:

    Helpful,helpful. This is what we’ve expereinced and I’ve looked everywhere for accurrate information on what was happening to other adoptive parents with this adoption tax credit. I loved the link directly to the auditor training manual. Pure gold. I’m going through it to send them exactly what they are looking for. why can’t they give that much detail other places!@?!@ Once againCreating a Family has come through. Took the suryve and it only took a few minutes. I want everyone to take it too so we can really see if there’s a pattern.

  444. Avatar Allison says:

    What I find interesting is that the second letter, the 886-H-Adopt-0 is no where on the 8839 instructions, nor the IRS website, nor the internet. It is dated Oct 2010 and includes that you must have the receipts and detailed list. Where were these instructions when we all filed if the document is dated Oct 2010? Why is it not on the IRS website? Strange.

  445. Avatar Jodi says:

    Our IRS status is currently stating we will receive a letter requesting more information. We have received the non-adoption portion of our return–which wasn’t much-haha! We mailed in out taxes on March 19th and our status just changed on Monday of this week (11th) and when that changed, we received our non-adoption portion of the return. We have not received the actual letter yet so I am trying to organize and scan documents to make it all easier to fax or mail. We did our taxes ourselves with taxact. And that is where we are at so far. We have two adoption carryovers and one finalized in 2010.

  446. Avatar Jennifer says:

    well glad to hear its not just me. i got my letter today and only received the part of my tax refund that didn’t relate to the adoption…

  447. Avatar Brad Davis says:

    I’ve been told various things about Step-Parent adoptions. Are they included in the adoption tax credit or not?

  448. GREAT wrap up… Will have to wait till the hubby gets home to do the super duper survey – he does our taxes and knows the details.

  449. thanks for this comprehensive post. We just mailed our returns this week, so who knows what will happen? But I have heard a lot of people are having problems. In the very small cross section of people I have spoken with (on Facebook), I have seen that most people who used accountants haven’t had problems, while those who did it themselves have been asked for further proof. We used a CPA and sent 3 kinds of proof, so I have my fingers crossed. We plan to use our refund to buy a minivan!

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Wonderful Happens: I’ve not seen a correlation between those who prepared themselves and those who used a tax preparer. I’ll see if I can amend the survey to add that question. Not sure if I can. I’ve got my toes and fingers crossed for you.

  450. Avatar Mike says:

    I found out yesterday that we are through review. It took 3 and a half months for them to decide to say “accepted as filed”. I’m glad to be nearing the end. Just need to wait for the check now which will probably come in June. I am very thankful for the credit, but I never imagined that I would file my taxes the last week of January and receive the refund in June.

  451. Avatar Jason says:

    We mailed in our form on the day the ATC was released. Feb 15. Now it’s may 11th, and I got off the phone with IRS today after being told it would be 45-60 days before they would be able to get to my refund. That would put the turn around time at…5 months. Makes no sense how they could decide to make the credit refundable 15 months ago, and are just now figuring out how they are going to do it. “Shoot! Congress told me a year ago we’d have to make ATC refundable, and I totally forgot. Well, gee, I guess we’d better figure out how we’re going to do this.”

  452. Avatar Cathy says:

    Progress!!! I finally received a call from an investigator. When our CPA did our return, the software automatically upped the amount of our credit to the 2010 amount (we finalized in 2009)…so the investigator faxed us a revision. Once we sign and return (which she says it will go straight to her so no 30 day wait before they process it) she will close our case. Downside…still a 4-6 weeks before they actually release the money.

  453. Avatar Mike says:

    Just an update: Week 15 since they received my taxes and nothing. I got the letter asking for the adoption orders and determination of special needs which I sent in with my original return. They received these documents on 3/2. I just got off the phone with them & they pretty much said that they would get to it when they get to it. I was very polite on the phone with them, but very frustrating & they said that I would receive a letter letting me know if they will allow or disallow the credit. What??? I adopted two boys in 2009 and this is just the carry forward credit. This is crazy!

  454. Avatar Christy says:

    WE received a letter stating they had received the requested documents 4-19-11 and that we will receive a response within 30 days, and if we do not receive a response we will receive another letter with another expected timeframe for a response. We called the IRS last week and they said that they should release the money within 30 days after receiving the forms and if not then we will get a letter saying that it will be released within 45 days of receiving the letter. We called again today and our status is still under review in Tennessee.

  455. Avatar Patrick J says:

    Same story as everyone else, pretty much. I mailed in our return on 2/5/11. On 3/4/11, the IRS deposited that portion of our refund which did not have anything to do with the adoption credit. The website was then updated to show we were under review. On 3/14/11, they finally sent us a letter about where to send the verification of expenses. These were sent via fax on 4/4/2011. I called the same day to confirm they had been received and they were. Was told at that time that it would take 3-6 weeks to complete the review. We rec’d a letter dated 4/18/11 confirming receipt of the verifications and that we should hear something within 30 days. Then today, 5/17/11, we received another letter confirming receipt and informing us that we should hear something by 6/18/11!! This is just getting ridiculous… How long can it possibly take to look through 20 pages of cancelled checks and okay a refund. I am sending a request for assistance from the Taxpayer Advocate Service tomorrow. Maybe that will help….

  456. Avatar Paula says:

    My story is the same as most. I sent my paperwork (certified) and IRS received it Feb 22nd. I received my refund, minus the adoption tax credit about 2 weeks later. I called and they said I would be receiving a letter. I received the letter around the end of March. I sent them the paperwork they requested, which was what I had already sent. I called the IRS on April 15th. They told me it was under review. I was very nice to the person I spoke to, but she was really rude to me. She told me that if people like me would stop calling them then they would have more time to complete their work instead of having to answer the phone all the time. Today has now been six weeks since I sent the paperwork for the second time and I’ve heard nothing.

  457. Avatar Hope says:

    I sent my refund in around the middle of February. A few weeks later I called the IRS to determine if they received it. Intially they had not, but I called back and about mid March they finally received it. They said that it was being processed. I called 4 or 5 more times checking the status. Now each phone call had me on hold for at least 40 minutes and each time I had to verify every piece of my information. In April I called and one person told me there was a letter sent out 2 weeks prior. I went to my post office to see if it was being held and when it wasn’t I called back. The next gentlemen told me there wasn’t a letter sent out and everything looked good. Today I was on the phone for 3 hours with the IRS only to find out they sent out a letter on either May 5th or May 9th, depending on which IRS person I talked to, which I have not recieved. The reason: it was sent to the wrong zip code. Now I have verified that information 6 or 7 times over the last few months and they are just now figuring it out. The real kicker, they will actually have to send back my return to the wrong address (the address change will not be effect in time), wait for it to be returned and then they can send it out to the correct address. Now I checked and doubled check every site to make sure I had all of the information. From what I gather the IRS is delaying special needs cases requesting adoption expense information. This could be my case. In effect, it really is being returned when it would not need to be. This new delay could take an additional 6-8 weeks. If we are lucky. I am really hoping “good things come to those who wait” is the result of this incredibly frustrating situation.

  458. Avatar Jen says:

    My husband & I adopted our daughter in 2008 and were anxiously awaiting our carryover credit in the form of a refund this year. I sent our taxes out Feb. 21 and kept checking the “Where’s My Refund” page on the IRS site. Finally it said we would receive our refund on April 12. A couple of days later when I returned to the site, it said we were under review and that we would receive a letter explaining further what to do. We didn’t receive that letter until about 3 weeks later. When we got it, I supplied the additional information requested. Three weeks later, we got a letter in the mail thanking us for the material and that the IRS should complete their review in 30 days. It’s now been 30 days and we’ve heard nothing from the IRS. I thought maybe they would just give us our refund, so I kept checking our bank account since we had set our refund up to be direct deposited, but after reading some of your comments, it sounds like even when the review is done we will have to wait awhile for our refund. But I’m hoping we at least hear from the IRS soon that our review is over and accepted as filed.

  459. Avatar J says:

    Still waiting. FIled on March 3rd and sent necessary documentation regarding our International adoption of our four daughters (carryover credit). Went into review on April 4th. Received letter asking to verify qualified adoption expenses on April 14th. Made copies of EVERYTHING..sent USPS and was signed for by IRS Rep. on April 21st. Still not showing in system as of today and IRS told me to call back on Friday. I am keeping the faith that all will be okay, but still made a call to the U.S. Senator Robert Casey, since he is advocating for adoptive families and has urged the IRS to investigate these delays (April 20,2011) Left message…hoping someone calls back. We are blessed in more ways than one, but I have spent lots of time in getting the proper documents, and it worries me that don’t have a clue when I call. I think if we all start calling and expressing our concern, maybe we will see some results. Can anyone tell me, does it really take a month to get it updated into the system…just checking ….hoping someone can put me at ease. WIshing everyone a good day!

  460. Avatar J says:

    PS….Our adoption was finalized in 2008, so we sent in the IR3 visas, along with adoption decree, which was the ONLY documentation the IRS originally asked for. 🙂

  461. Avatar Andy says:

    Thanks….I just feel bad that those of you who were on the ball and had everything sent in in March still haven’t gotten your refunds yet, while we actually had to file for an extension and ended up getting it in 4 weeks. As I said, I think we benefited from the extra time because the IRS actually figured out what they were doing.

  462. Avatar Andy says:

    I hate to even post this considering all the difficulty everyone else seems to be having, but we got our full refund with full tax credit today via direct deposit.

    We actually filed for an extension because our tax person wanted to make sure we had everything in line, so she needed a few extra days to consult with a few other accountants. We filed for the extension on April 18th and she had them done by the 20th. They were mailed on April 21st. Earlier this week I checked “where’s my refund” and it said it would be deposited on 5/20, and to my shock, it was.

    I guess the fact that we waited to file may have worked to our advantage this time. We waited mostly because we were waiting to get our son’s SS number because we just finalized in December.

    Hope everyone who is still waiting gets their refund soon!

  463. Avatar Wendy c says:

    Taxes filed via mail as requested on Feb 21,2011. Received partial refund minus adoption credit on April 9. Status changed to under review…received first letter stating to expect another letter if more information would be needed. Second letter came requesting adoption decree (sent this the first time) and qualifying expenses. This was sent via fax and certified mail on May 11 with verification of receipt on May 13. Guess we will be waiting again.

  464. Avatar Cathy says:

    I listed my timeline earlier in the blog…but after submitting our return on 02/09…we finally received our refund today!

  465. Avatar Rene says:

    Same story, different dates. Three special needs adoptions. The most recent letter we received gave us June 15th as our new date to have this resolved. This is the third letter we’ve gotten since resubmitting all our documentation to the review office. We adopted a sibling group, so the documentation was pretty straightforward. Please post when you get your refund- give us some hope!

  466. Avatar Adam says:

    I’m still on the waiting train. We submitted our return as soon as the form came out and then resubmitted the paperwork. It seems that everyone has to resubmit the paperwork even if it’s all originally there. Once they received it I talked to an irs person and they said we can talk to someone directly 45 days after they received the additional paperwork. So on May 22nd we’ll be calling again and hoping we get somewhere. Looks like we are going to go through this again next year too.

  467. Avatar John says:

    Can you check your tax refund status online?

  468. Avatar Mike says:

    Thanks Dawn 🙂 I hope it comes soon. I will update when it does. As for the “Where’s My Refund” function on the IRS website, I think that once it says you’ve been put into review, the updates on that end. I know that our review is over and refund in pending status because I called, but WMR still shows in review which is the same message that has been there since February.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Yes Mike, I think that is correct about Where’s My Refund. Once in review, your info has to come directly from the IRS office.

  469. Avatar Jennifer says:

    Has anyone who got snagged by IRS actually received their adoption tax credit return yet? I feel like someone should have by now….

  470. Avatar Kelly says:

    We filed our taxes in early Feb. at which time we included the supporting documents for our two special needs sons. A few weeks later, we got a partial refund that didn’t include the adoption tax refund credit. In early April we got a letter asking for supporting documents which we already had sent. We sent everything again, certified mail and eventually got the receipt that it was delivered April 25th. Now as of today, May 26, they have no record it was recieved, “at this time, you may want to resend it all again”. We have already sent everything twice, both times certified mail, both times got a delivery receipt and still no record that that it has been entered into their system…. Are you kidding me?? They say to check back 7-14 days after you send correspondance to check if it has been recieved. Well, it has been 31 days and no indication that it has been received, or entered in or started processing…. I wonder how long this is going to go on???? Crazy.

  471. Avatar Angela says:

    We received our letter asking for more documentation. When they ask for receipts and canceled checks does it mean either one or do they need the receipt and then a canceled check also to prove that you really did pay the total on the receipt?

  472. Avatar Mary says:

    @happydad, so true! Still waiting!

  473. Avatar Patrick J says:

    Yeah, Cathy! That’s wonderful!

  474. Avatar BW says:

    We filed an amended return on 15 Apr 11. Now after reading all the postings that appear to be initial filings, not amended ones, I am not feeling very optimistic right now. I did not initially file because I was not sure if we qualified for it. We adopted 3 special needs children. Our adoption subsidy worker sent us a letter urging us to claim the credit and she included a detailed letter with all the information regarding our adoption on her departments letterhead to sent to the IRS along with the amended return. I was happy to receive that because we were very concerned about sending our childrens personal indentifying information in the mail. But after reading these posting I imagine this process has a very long road ahead for us. I pray that things will go well.

  475. Avatar Christy says:

    The IRS received our documents on 4-19-11…we received a letter confirming that they had received it and then another letter stating we would have a response within 30 days or another letter with a new expected response date. Today we received a letter with a new expected response date of 7-3-11. We call every week and get a different answer each time and today they pointed out we call too much.

  476. Avatar happydad says:

    I bet the IRS was a little surprised when they found out how persistent adoptive parents are about advocating for themselves. Even those of us who may have been a little shy by nature when we started the adoption process have learned how to make our voices heard when dealing with various bureaucracies. The IRS representatives will probably be almost as glad as the rest of us when this mess is finally resolved. Hoping it’s soon!

  477. We filed our taxes in early February as well. We sent only our Hague Adoption Certificate, as that was all the IRS said they required. In early April, we received a partial refund and a notice that our return was “under review.” We were asked to submit receipts, cancelled checks, etc for every adoption expense. We sent every receipt we had. The notice said we would receive correspondence within 30 days. We sent it registered mail, so we know the IRS received it on April 26th. As of today, May 26th, we’ve heard nothing.

    I called the IRS (stayed on hold for over 30 minutes until reaching a live person) and was told they couldn’t do anything until it had been 45 days since they received our information.

    Every day I go to the mailbox hoping our refund has arrived, and every day I’m sorely disappointed.

    I’m SO frustrated. Glad the TAS is getting involved.

  478. Avatar Patrick J says:

    OK, so our story goes on to show just how the little the IRS seems to know about their own rules. Check out post #70 (above) to read how we filed back in early February and are still under review. I finally contacted the Taxpayer Advocate Service last week, and heard from them yesterday. As many of you know, adoption expenses are to be claimed either the year after they are incurred, or during the year in which you finalize. So, if you have an adoption search that takes several years, you can recoup some of the money each year, and then the rest of it the year that you finalize. Well, my wife and I have adopted both of our children. My son was born 7/14/08 (we finalized in 1/2009) and then my daughter was just born 7/1/10 (we just finalized 5/9/11!!). Anyway, this year I was mostly claiming the carryover from my son’s adoption expenses that I couldn’t use in 2009. I also claimed about $600 in expenses that we incurred in 2009 when we began the search for my daughter. Apparently, the TAS has found out from the review supervisor that the IRS has not released our refund b/c they were waiting for us to send in my daughter’s final decree of adoption!!! At the time we filed, the adoption was not yet final. However, since the expenses were incurred in 2009, we are still allowed to claim them in 2010. I did include the placement order with the original tax return. They did not need to wait for anything further!! What makes me even more furious is that the IRS reviewers have still not even sent us anything asking for the final decree. Instead, they just sit on the return for months and months!! Aaaarrrggghhhh….. Oh well, hopefully now that the TAS is involved, they will speed things up…. Thanks for listening….

  479. Avatar Dave Burdick says:

    We sent ours overnight they received Feb 21. Initially said 6-8 weeks …call back next week and then we’ll know..blah blah. At week 8 a message said dont call then removed. I called, they make you feel like a criminal trying to talk to judge. I’ve been laughed at, hung up on, never the same story twice. We’ve called about once a week. Ever hopefull then shot down again. I have yet to talk to anybody who knows anything. I have been in errors, reviews and audits for months. Today I talked to nice IRS agent, but didn’t know anything, except that we would have to wait at least another month. And this is “normal”. Seemed like about 45 minutes on the phone…only got discouraged. I hear about lots of people actually getting theirs. They sent in way after me. Standing by with another load of paper work , important documents they lost, in case they ask.
    Were gonna have two vacations next year. I give up. Looking for before school starts. Who knows.

  480. Avatar Ashley says:

    We had a delay on the additional information, as well, and we had a request for proof of our expenses despite the fact that it was a special needs adoption. I was wondering whether anyone else had a disallowance on their child as a dependent because of name and social not matching? Our adoption was final Dec 30, and we did not have time to change her name with the social security administration before we filed taxes in March. IF you’ve had this, what info did you submit to correct it?

  481. Avatar Loving mother says:

    My case closed now im jus waiting on my check to be deposited and debt free stress I,will be

  482. Avatar Paula says:

    @Ashley, #109: This happened to a friend of mine. Once her case reached the review status, the IRS called her to question why the name didn’t match the social security number. She explained that she had not had a chance to change his name at the SS Office. She went immediately and took care of it and was able to fax the info to the IRS that same day.

  483. Avatar Jen says:

    we have 3 special needs adoptions but were unaware we qualified for the refundable credit until after we filed. Filed amended return Apr 15 and have not gotten any response from irs. seems some people are getting letters as to the process but we have not received any written response from them. I have called many times only to be told that the return was moved to processing and just this week they said return has been sent to adjustments dept which rep agent told me that was where it went before refunds are issued. I am leary of that and dont know exactly what that means for us and wondered of anyone else has been told something similar

  484. Avatar Mike and Annie says:

    We finally got the money!

    We had a similar timeline to many here:
    -Filed in late February.
    -Got a partial refund in March (everything but the adoption credit).
    -Had to send in receipts and paperwork to prove expenses in early April.
    -Heard back from the IRS in late April that we could expect 30-60 days.
    -Got another mailing in early June saying that it might take until sometime in July.
    -Finally received the credit almost exactly 4 months after filing.

    Interestingly enough, it looks like they added $86.88 to the amount I was expecting. Guess maybe they paid interest for taking so long? 🙂

    For everyone else waiting, hang in there!

  485. Avatar Anonymous says:

    We got the money!

    We went through the exact same story as most people. Filed end of Feb, got our tax return minus the adoption refund in April closely followed by a letter asking for receipts. Sent them right away. Then we got another letter saying they got the receipts and that we would hear by June 8th. On June 6th we got a letter saying we were still in review and would hear by July 6th. (and yes, we get four copies of every letter too, very wierd). We settled in to wait it out, contemplating whether to contact a tax advocate or not, and then yesterday we checked the account and the money was there! It was deposited on the 17th. So I think they are finally starting to release it all, and more and more people should be getting their money soon.

  486. Avatar Paula says:

    @Anonymous – That’s wonderful news. It gives us all a glimmer of hope!

  487. Avatar Sandra says:

    I filed end of April and have received 2 letters also. I adopted 3 nieces and one nephew, sibling group. I called the Taxpayer advocate last week and they are supposed to call me within 5 business days and I was given a number to call if they don’t call me. They sent a letter that they received the documentation they requested(although it was sent with the original return) and so I hope that this will speed the process up. Any idea how long it takes if you have a tax advocate? I haven’t got a callback and am thinking I will end up having to call them. Thank you for any information you can provide : )

  488. Avatar Jeff says:

    Has anyone received their tax credit yet? It sounds like we all have heard the same thing. One day they tell you it will be reveiwed next week, then it is 30-60 days. I have also recieved multiple letters, and have resubmitted duplicate documentation. I too agree we need to continue to be polite and courtious, but we should not have to tolerate this inefficancy. We would not alow a corporation to continue to provide this poor customer service, and we shouldn’t alow it form the government either. I have contacted my representatives in Washington and would incourage everyone else to do the same. This is the only way the burocracy will change.

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Jeff, read some of the comments to this blog. People are beginning to get their credit and many report that they also received interest for the time it was withheld.

  489. Avatar mom of 2 adopted says:

    Post 160 – I posted #148, and have had and on-going “relationship” ( lol!) with the irs over this mess. I feel like I am finally getting somewhere tho!
    I agree with Dawn that you in the very least should be getting a letter from them. We have received at least 5 letters. Being that you never get the same person in the same city when you call in, I would call weekly and state your facts, and hopefully it will lead you to the right person!
    I have been calling weekly this past month, as they claim they don’t have the letter from the state for our foster daughters adoption ( never mind I have sent it 6 times at least!) My the greace of God, the other day when I called in I happened to actually get the examiner who initially reviewed our case. She claims she was going to request our file, and get it closed out for us. Believe me I’ll be calling at the end of the week for a status report on this!!!
    Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue…………… 🙂

  490. Avatar Cheryl says:

    I posted before, still waiting, almost 5 months….should I be worried that have asked me for NOTHING….. I have never got a letter or asked for more paperwork. I did called after three months and he said it was on a reviewers desk???

    • Avatar Dawn says:

      Cheryl-Almost everyone I’ve spoken with has at the very least received the first letter. I would call back and say that two months ago it was under review, but you have still heard nothing. If it is still under review, I’d keep calling back. Good luck.