skip navigation

Search Help
Navigation Help

Topic Index

Tax Topics

About Tax Map Website
Instructions for Form 8839



Eligible Child(p2)

An eligible child is:
If you and another person (other than your spouse if filing jointly) adopted or tried to adopt an eligible child, see the instructions for line 2 on page 6 
(or line 15 on page 7, if applicable) before completing Part II (or Part III).

Qualified Adoption Expenses(p2)

Qualified adoption expenses are reasonable and necessary expenses directly related to, and for the principal purpose of, the legal adoption of an eligible child.
Qualified adoption expenses include:
Qualified adoption expenses do not include expenses:

Employer-Provided Adoption Benefits(p2)

In most cases, employer-provided adoption benefits are amounts your employer paid directly to either you or a third party for qualified adoption expenses under a qualified adoption assistance program. But see Children with special needs on page 3. A qualified adoption assistance program is a separate written plan set up by an employer to provide adoption assistance to its employees. For more details, see Pub. 15-B, Employer's Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits.
Employer-provided adoption benefits should be shown in box 12 of your Form(s) W-2 with code T. Your salary may have been reduced to pay these benefits. You may also be able to exclude amounts not shown in box 12 of your Form W-2 if all of the following apply.
The following examples help illustrate how qualified adoption expenses and employer-provided adoption benefits apply to the maximum adoption credit allowed.

Example 1.(p2)

Lisa Green paid $10,000 in qualified adoption expenses for the adoption of an eligible child. Under a qualified adoption assistance program, Lisa's employer reimbursed her for $4,000 of those expenses. Lisa may exclude the $4,000 reimbursement from her income. However, because of the employer reimbursement, $4,000 of her expenses no longer meet the definition of qualified adoption expenses. As a result, Lisa's maximum adoption credit is limited to $6,000 ($10,000 – $4,000).

Example 2.(p2)

Elaine French paid $10,000 in qualified adoption expenses for the adoption of an eligible child. Under a qualified adoption assistance program, Elaine's employer paid an additional $6,000 of qualified adoption expenses on her behalf. Her total qualified adoption expenses are $16,000 ($10,000 + $6,000). Because the expenses paid by Elaine were different from the expenses paid by her employer, Elaine may exclude the $6,000 that her employer paid from her income and may claim a credit for the $10,000 of qualified adoption expenses she paid.

Example 3.(p2)

Jason Smith paid $30,000 in qualified adoption expenses to adopt an eligible foreign child, and the adoption became final in 2010. Under a qualified adoption assistance program, Jason's employer reimbursed him for $13,170 of those expenses. Jason may exclude the $13,170 reimbursement from his income. The remaining $16,830 of expenses ($30,000 – $13,170) continue to be qualified adoption expenses that are eligible for the credit. However, Jason's credit is dollar-limited to $13,170. The remaining $3,660 ($30,000 – $13,170 – $13,170) may never be claimed as a credit or excluded from gross income.