Adoption tax credit could be cut under proposed tax reform

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Tax reform proposed by Republicans on Capitol Hill would end an adoption tax credit used by families to help cover the cost of adopting through a private agency or internationally.

Action 2 News spoke to Heather Bernhardt. She and her husband have three kids, all of whom were adopted.

“When we lost twins about 7 years ago, we decided that instead of investing money on infertility, adoption was the way to go,” said Bernhardt.

To adopt their son Brady, the couple used the adoption tax credit. It's about $13,500 depending on the household income and can be used for things like court costs and agency expenses.

If the adoption tax credit gets cut, Angie Flannery at the agency "Adoption Choice" said many families would be priced out.

“We would see many families that would not be able to adopt because the expense of adoption really hinders some families from being able to grow their family through adoption. It really helps families to be able to adopt,” said Flannery, the executive director at Adoption Choice in Green Bay.

The office of House Speaker Paul Ryan sent this statement in response to this issue:

For too long the adoption tax credit has inflated the cost of private adoptions, encouraged international adoptions over those in our own communities, and given a disincentive to public foster care adoptions for the neediest of children. According to AdoptUsKids, parents adopting from the U.S. foster care system, working with a public agency, typically incur no additional costs to adopting a child. So, a tax credit is not needed in these cases, and in effect its existence subsidizes every other type of adoption than adoptions of kids from foster care.

Furthermore, ninety-one percent of the children adopted from foster care are qualified to receive an ongoing subsidy because they met their state’s definition for “special needs,” which includes older children and sibling groups. This ongoing subsidy helps to remove financial barriers that may prevent a family from adopting from foster care, and to ensure that a child’s needs are met until he or she becomes an adult.

Office of Speaker Paul Ryan

Lawmakers who support the proposed tax reform bill hope it passes by Thanksgiving.

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