Advocate!

Help us take action today!

We are asking you to call, email, post on Facebook or Twitter, or otherwise contact your members of Congress (one Representative and two Senators) to ask them to protect the adoption tax credit and make it refundable by becoming a co-sponsor of the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act (H.R. 2144 or S. 1056). (Click here to learn more about both bills.)

Before you call, check to see if they are already co-sponsors:

You can find your Representative and Senators’ contact information by visiting: www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm or www.house.gov/representatives.

Below are a number of resources to help your advocacy efforts:

The Facts

The adoption tax credit provides financial benefits to families that open their homes to children through adoption from foster care, intercountry adoption, or private domestic adoption.

The adoption tax credit, with a maximum of $12,970 in 2013, has helped to offset the high cost of adoption for hundreds of thousands of families since it was established in 1997. The IRS estimates that the credit benefited 96,949 children and their families in 2010. With more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care available for adoption and countless millions of orphans and abandoned children around the world, the continuation of the adoption tax credit is vital to providing love, safety, and permanency through adoption to as many children as possible.

The Need

The adoption tax credit was finally made a permanent part of the U.S. tax code  with the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. However, the credit was not made refundable as it was in 2010 and 2011. And recent discussions about comprehensive tax reform put the adoption tax credit at risk—even a so-called permanent credit is not guaranteed to make it through major tax reform. We must ask Congress to make the adoption tax credit refundable and to protect it during tax reform so that it can help more children and families.

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to make the adoption tax credit refundable. One-third of all adopted children live in families with annual household incomes at or below 200% of the poverty level, meaning many do not have a tax liability and cannot use a non-refundable tax credit. Nationally nearly half (46%) of families adopting from foster care are at or below 200% of poverty the level. A refundable adoption tax credit makes an enormous difference in terms of which families are able to claim the credit. Many parents who provide loving homes to waiting children cannot use the non-refundable adoption tax credit at all—and these are among those who need it most.

Important Tips

When making your contact:

  • Be sure to say, “I am a constituent.”
  • If you’re calling, ask for the staff person that handles tax issues or adoption-related issues for the office. If no one is available, leave a detailed message with contact information.
  • Be direct in your request: “I want my member of Congress to become a co-sponsor of the Adoption Tax Credit Refundability Act: S.1056/H.R.2144.” [On the Senate side, refer to S. 1056. Use H.R. 2144 on the House side.]
  • Make it relevant. Share your personal adoption experience and explain why the refundable adoption tax credit is important.
  • If possible, when visiting D.C., try to make an appointment.
  • Follow up and thank the staff and member of Congress when they become a cosponsor.
  • If your legislator has not signed on, find out why and try to further educate him or her on the issue.