Raising children is both physically and emotionally challenging as well as financially straining—but for the generous and loving families that open their hearts and homes to adopt children, the government has reinstated the biggest tax refund available. CNNMoney reports that an adoption tax credit that had been considered non-refundable in 2010, is now back and families will be able to claim as much as $13,360 for each child they adopted in the past six years on their 2011 tax return.
Previously, the adoptive credit had been a non-refundable tax credit that simply offset taxes owed and carried any remainder over into the next year. But now the tax credit will place money directly into the family’s hands, courtesy of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act of 2010. Unfortunately the credit will be cut again unless Congress decides to extend it.
CNNMoney reports that the refund is especially helpful to families who adopted children with “special needs.” These families are eligible to receive the entire $13,360 even if they had no expenses to adopt the child.
Last year, the Wards in North Carolina were able to receive a refund of $54,000. The couple has seven children of their own, but felt called to adopt five more. The couple says they had no idea about the tax credit when they filed their taxes, and thought that they owed money.
Another adoptive parent, Deborah Schwinger, from Pennsylvania, received a $24,300 refund last year. She adopted Matthew and Lizzy in 2009, two children with a history of behavioral problems after being ill-treated by their mother.
“The money was a godsend,” she said to CNNMoney. “The kids got new bikes from Walmart and I got a grill, I set up [bank] accounts for the children, I’m working to get us a bigger house, I no longer live paycheck-to-paycheck and have little debt. We have everything we need and we get a few things we want.”
Although the money is sure to help many families in need, taxpayers can expect a long wait before receiving the additional funds. The Government Accountability Office conducted a report that revealed “considerable” delays in refunds for the adoption tax credit claim, due to the high volume of audits received. The study confirmed that $1.2 billion in adoption tax credits were claimed last year.