Office of Children and Family Services

Adoption Services

Tax Benefits for Adoption

(En Español)

Adoption Tax Credit and Benefit Exclusions

Adoptive families may be able to take a tax credit for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. The adoption credit is not available for any reimbursed expenses such as non-recurring adoption expenses.  In addition to the credit, certain amounts reimbursed by your employer for qualifying adoption expenses may be excludable from your gross income.  The credit and exclusion for qualifying adoption expenses are each subject to a dollar limit and an income limit.

An eligible child is:

  • Any child under age 18. If the child turned 18 during the year, the child is an eligible child for part of the year he or she was under age 18.
  • Any disabled person physically or mentally unable to take care of himself or herself.

Qualified adoption expenses

  • Adoption fees,
  • attorney fees,
  • court costs,
  • travel expenses (including meals and lodging)  while away from home,
  • and readoption expenses relating to the adoption of a foreign child

do not include

  • For which you received funds under any state, local or federal program,
  • that violate state or federal law,
  • for carrying out a surrogate parenting arrangement,
  • for the adoption of your spouse’s child,
  • paid or reimbursed by your employer or any other person or organization,
  • paid before 1997 or
  • allowed as a credit or deduction under any other provision of federal income tax law

IRS Form 8839 will assist you in determining the amount of your adoption credit and any employer-provided adoption benefits you can exclude from your income. You can claim both the credit and exclusion for expenses of adopting an eligible child. Instructions for completing IRS Form 8839 can be found at

Additional Adoption Tax Credit Resources

13-OCFS-ADM-05 Notification to Prospective Adoptive Families of the Federal Adoption Tax Credit (PDF)

The Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Services Topic 607 - Adoption Credit explains two tax benefits available to offset the expenses of adopting a child.

For assistance contact the Internal Revenue Services at or a tax advisor.